brian news

OCTOBER 2006
© brianmay.com

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**Tue 31 Oct 06**
THE SUNDAY PROGRAMME - TIMES

We can now confirm transmission time for this Sunday's GMTV "Sunday Programme" (5 November), when interviews will run with both Brian May and Chris Lintott. This is a 15 minute segment (probably towards the middle of the programme.) The programme will run as follows:

ITV1 0600 - 0725
ITV2 0725 - 0850
ITV2+1 0825 - 0950


**Mon 30 Oct 06**
WHAT BRIAN SAID ON NEWSNIGHT REVIEW

LISTEN HERE

NEWSNIGHT REVIEW, BBC2
Friday 27 October, 11pm.

Presenter: And now a look at the week in culture...

The rock star's guide to the Universe.

Brian May, who studied astronomy at University, this week launched his book, Bang!, written with Patrick Moore, and astrophysicist Chris Lintott.

BRIAN MAY: Astronomy is the part of science which really does try tell you your context in a Universe and to me that's a burning question. It's not really possible to answer any of these questions, I have to say, but that astronomers are getting close to putting a whole picture together and that's why we decided to write the book and it's a fairly brave attempt, I think, in a way to tell the story of the Universe in a completely linear fashion.


**Mon 30 Oct 06**
ROCK STAR, AND UP AMONG THE HEAVENS

MEDIA LIFE MAGAZINE
Popcult
By Heidi Dawley
Oct 30, 2006

We know Brian May as lead guitarist for Queen

It got off with a bang, as you would expect, the rock star sashaying into the room wearing a glam burgundy velvet jacket and matching clogs, and there he was, Brian May, the lead guitarist from the rock band Queen.

But this press conference, attended by the usual mugs of the London press corps, was not about what you would expect. May was not about to announce that he was going into rehab or getting a divorce or suddenly gay after all these years.

It was about his new book, and it was quite the talk already and soon to shoot into the top 30 of current best-sellers on Amazon’s British web site. (And no, it was not a book of children’s fiction, as Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney have written.)

May has co-authored a history of the universe. It’s called “Bang! The Complete History of the Universe” and written with astronomers Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott. And therein lies this interesting tale. How does a rock star go about writing a book about astrophysics?

As it turns out, before he made it big with Freddie Mercury in Queen, May had nearly completed a PhD in astrophysics at Imperial College, one of Britain’s highly respected universities.

“Astronomy and music go back a long way together for me,” May tells the press mob. Back actually to age seven. That was the year he got his first guitar and the year he first saw a TV show, “The Sky at Night,” which was hosted by Moore. The show still airs monthly. It was the music of "Sky" and the subject matter that ignited the twin passions May has pursued ever since.

As a kid, May convinced his dad to let him stay up late to watch “Sky.” He also gazed at the stars through the telescope he made with his dad--a telescope he still uses today. Yet all the while he was also developing his musical side.

For years, the sensible side won out. May studied astronomy. But eventually, while he was rewriting--for the second time--his doctorate and teaching math, things hotted up with Queen, the band he was in on the side. He decided to turn his back on the stars.

“I was shepherded toward a degree in science, but when I was in my twenties, the music took over,” he says in his soft spoken, laid-back way. At least initially his father was not pleased.

But May still kept up his interest in astronomy during the intervening 30-plus years of rock stardom, keeping abreast of new discoveries and in touch with people in the field.

Then, while on a trip to Scotland to see an annular solar eclipse, Moore, who May had known for some years, suggested they write a book. May took some convincing, believing that he wouldn’t have much to offer, but eventually came around to the idea.

While writing the book, May says he found he did have something to offer, a great attention to detail and the ability to read the text to decide if it was accessible to the general audience it was aimed at. As he reasoned, if he could understand the text, anyone could.

May has also begun work again on his doctorate on zodiacal dust with a view to finally finishing his PhD. But he hasn’t abandoned his music. He says he is currently in the studio with the view to possibly recording some more music.

When asked about the seemingly disparate nature of his two passions, May says there are actually commonalities.“The best astronomers and the best musicians share unusual qualities,” he says. To excel in either field you have to let your instincts run wild, he says. You have to be freethinking and lateral thinking, as well as having a side that is analytical.

Just what would Freddie Mercury have made of the book, which is expected to come out in the U.S. next year? “He loved anything unusual and exciting,” says May of the band leader, who died in 1991 of AIDS. “He would have been proud and of me and put it on his coffee table and showed it to people.”


**Mon 30 Oct 06**
MORE BANG INTERVIEWS

Watch out for Brian's BANG! interview with Jonathan Sale, which took place today and will run in The Independent - Educational Supplement, on 9 November.

Brian was also interviewed today by Imperial College Student Newspaper for a future issue, as well as Earth and Sky Radio.


**Mon 30 Oct 06**
BRIAN ON NEWSNIGHT REVIEW

If you missed seeing Brian on the Newsnight Review on Friday night (27th October), pop across to http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/review/default.stm, where you can catch the interview until noon next Saturday.

FASHION NOTE: Brian is wearing the very first BANG! TEESHIRT. These shirts will be on sale in the Bang! Shop within days!!!!


**Mon 30 Oct 06**
CLASSIC ROCK 100TH ISSUE - AND VOTE!!

Brian May will feature in the December 2006 issue of Classic Rock Magazine, on sale Wednesday November 15...

As Classic Rock reaches it's 100th issue, the stars come out to nominate their personal rock heroes, including:
- Brian May on John Lennon...
- John Bonham by Chad Smith...
- Rick Wakeman on David Bowie...
- Johny Cash by Chris Cornell...
- And 96 more!

UNMISSABLE BUMPER 100TH ISSUE WITH ...
Free book!
Metallica, Yes, Bolan, Floyd, Sabbath, Zep, Lizzy & more!
+ free interactive CD-Rom rock quiz

--

There is still time before voting closes on 1 November to pop across to
www.classicrockmagazine.com/
and vote for Queen, whose 'A Night At The Opera' is nominated for "Best Re-issue" in the Classic Rock Awards.


**Sun 29 Oct 06**
BRIAN COLLABORATION - POSSIBLE CHRISTMAS NO 1

As previously reported, Brian plays guitar on a re-make of the hit "'Move It' on the next album from Cliff Richard. "Two's Company: The Duets" is due out on 6 November 2006. 'Move It' will be released as a single during December, and already finds itself among the contenders for Christmas No 1.

From: www.cliffrichard.org
A clip of the new version of Move It (with Brian May and Brian Bennett) is now available in the Sound Gallery [749KB]. The full track, together with 21st Century Christmas, a new Christmas song, will be released as a (retail) single in December.

BBC News reports:
Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for retailer HMV, believes Sir Cliff Richard may be in line for his fourth Christmas Number One, with a cover of his hit single Move It, featuring Queen guitarist Brian May. "You can never rule out Sir Cliff when it comes to Christmas," said Mr Castaldo. "And by teaming up with the likes of Brian May and Daniel O'Donnell, and their considerable fan bases, he's giving himself every chance of landing his 15th UK number one - putting him just two behind The Beatles."

ITV News reports:
Sir Cliff Richard, who is releasing a cover of his classic track Move It, featuring Queen's Brian May, is also a favourite.

And current betting odds at William Hill....

XMAS NO 1 ODDS
X Factor winner - 1-3
All Angels - 7-1
Take That - 10-1
Cliff Richard and Brian May - 16-1
Cliff Richard and Daniel O'Donnell - 16-1
Source: William Hill


**Sun 29 Oct 06**
PHYSICS WORLD ARTICLE: ASTRONOMER ROYAL


Click for larger version

PHYSICS WORLD
October 2006
NEWS & ANALYSIS

Profile

ASTRONOMER ROYAL

Queen guitarist Brian May has written a book on the history of the universe.  Edwin Cartlidge spoke to the rock legend and Imperial College physics graduate to find out why and how he moved into popular-science writing.

 



Chronicler of an expanding cosmos
May has teamed up with Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott
to explain cosmology to the layperson.

In person


Born: London, 1947
Education: Imperial College, London
(degree in physics and unfinished PhD in astronomy)
Career: guitarist and songwriter in Queen, and a solo artist
Outside interests: astronomy, photography, archiving
Family: married to actor Anita Dobson, has three children from his first marriage


Sitting on the terrace of Brian May’s Surrey mansion on a sunny late summer’s day, at times it is easy to forget how May made his name.  Aside from his trademark long, curly locks, there is little to suggest that this is the guitarist in one of the world’s most-famous and flamboyant rock groups – Queen – and the writer of hits such as “We will rock you” and ”Fat bottomed girls”.  Chatting to Physics World in a quiet, unassuming way, he talks about a wide range of topics, from his fascination with Victorian stereo photography and his fondness for archiving, to speculation about the origins of life on Earth.  He also discusses another life-long passion, and the reason for the visit from this magazine: astronomy.

Together with veteran astronomy popularizer Sir Patrick Moore, and Chris Lintott – Moore’s sidekick on the television programme The Sky at Night – May has written Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, published by Canopus Books and due out later this month.  This modestly titled book is designed to be a layperson’s guide to cosmology – a chronological account of the development of the universe from its extremely brief but ultrarapid “inflationary” expansion, through the development of  stars, planets and life, and finishing with its likely fate – a cold, featureless death.

Having spent most of his life strutting around on stage in front of adoring fans, May, 59, seems an unlikely person to have written such a book.  But in fact he graduated in physics and went on to do mot of a PhD in astronomy, and has retained an interest in science ever since.  Indeed, he has been keen to ensure that the book is genuinely informative, and that it is not some glossy cop-out.  “I wanted it to be a book that people would read and felt in some sense that they understand the whole story of creation,” he says.  “I did not want it to be something that you just buy and stick on your coffee table.

I try to get a balance in my
life.  It is still very hard
because I do so much, but I
like it that way

Don’t stop me now

It was Moore who sparked the young May’s interest in astronomy.  From the age of about seven, May used to beg his parents to be allowed to stay up and watch The Sky at Night.  For him, the subject matter seemed mysterious and exciting, and he hung on to ever word that Moore uttered.  “I remember trying to put stars on my ceiling and fitting my cupboards out so that it felt like you were in space when you put your head in them,” he recalls.

May’s scientific bent took him to Imperial College in London, where he graduated in physics.  He stayed at Imperial to do a PhD on the motion of interplanetary dust particles, and got as far as writing up his thesis and drawing the accompanying figures.  But it was then that his other great passion – music – caught up with him.  Having started rehearsing with Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury in a group that was to become Queen, May realized it was now or never for his music.  So he ditched his PhD and went off to become a rock star.  “It was probably good for the scientific community that I did this,” he adds modestly.  “I was known in the department for being a bit erratic.  I tended to work during the night rather than the day, which meant I missed lots of meetings.”



Click for larger
From stardom to stardust

For years May never really imagined that he could make a career out of his music, but ironically it is the security that he has acquired from being an extremely successful rock star that has, years later, allowed him to return to astronomy.  He spends man an hour staring up at the skies through his portable telescope, and more occasionally uses the 10 inch telescope located inside the miniature observatory he has built on his considerable back lawn.  He even hopes to finish his PhD, using data from a telescope on Tenerife that his astronomer friend Garik Israelian, based at the Canaries Institute of Astrophysics, will help him obtain.

May’s involvement in Bang! followed a trip to Scotland with Moore to view an annular eclipse in May 2003.  While in Scotland. More suggested they get together to write a book on cosmology.  Although May at first thought he would have little to contribute to the project, Moore persisted and eventually managed to win him round.  A few months later the two discussed the nuts and bolts of the book at Moore’s Sussex house.  Lintott, who is doing a PhD in astronomy at University College London, also happened to be at the house at the time, and the three realized that together they could make a powerful team – Moore with his panoramic view of astronomy, Lintott with the up-to-date knowledge of cosmology research and May, as it turned out, the one best suited to ensuring the book remained clear and understandable to the non-expert.  Plus there was the prospect that May’s name was likely to do no harm to the sales figures.

Once the meeting was over, Moore sat down at his old typewriter and within a week had bashed out the first draft.  Then followed two years of re-writing, and plenty of heated disputes over single words and sentences.  For May, it was vital that the book retained the linear narrative they had consciously opted for in preference to the now more conventional approach of packing in plenty of human anecdotes.  “Brian kept us focused on the task in hand,” recalls Lintott.  “He was also extremely rigorous in finding the right analogies – at times the process felt to me rather like a three-year-log viva with a particularly tenacious examiner,” he says of May.



Guitar maestro
From an early age May wanted to be either an astronomer or a musician
.


I want it all

One of the issues that the three co-authors profoundly disagreed about was the issue of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe.  May believes that the life found on Earth could exist elsewhere, its seeds having been carried throughout the universe on the back of meteorites, as proposed by the late astronomer Fred (a “fantastically original thinker” according to May).  But, unlike Moore, he does not think that life could have started independently in man different parts of the universe.  “The idea is that given a particular paint box a Picasso will emerge.  I don’t believe it,” he says.

May has strong views on a wide range of other subjects, to which a continually updated stream of comments on his web site testify – be they the evils of capitalism, the folly of the Iraq war or gripes with his new laptop computer.  He also believes that scientists must take greater notice of their ethical responsibilities.  For example, he is deeply opposed to drug testing on animal and also questions the right of scientists to smash objects into comets.  “My objections to this kind of project are slightly tongue in cheek,” he says.  “But to be honest, I would probably kill someone if I saw them torturing a cat.”

An obvious question that springs to mind when talking to May is how he manages to fit in all he does.  In addition to his music, his astronomy, spending time with  his family and up-dating his online soap box, he also acts as producer and musical director to the Queen musical We Will Rock You (currently on stage in London and cities overseas), writes the odd score for other theatrical productions, and campaigns for Aids sufferers.  “I try to get a balance in my life,” he says.  “It’s still very hard because I do so much, but I like it that way.  I’ve learned a lot about dividing time and allowing yourself to be helped by other people.”

One activity that he devotes significant time to is photography, and in particular studying and archiving the work of Victorian 3D photographer T R Williams.  For May, Williams is a hero.  “He was an amazing technician and a perfectionist, but at the same time a complete artist,” he says.  “And he was also commercially successful.”

This ability to combine fulfilment with commercial success is one that fascinates May (who admits that he too suffers from the “perfectionist disease”).  “If you have just one of those, life can be a bit bleak,” he says.  “You can do great art that no-one ever sees, you can do great science but there is nothing to apply it to, or else you can be commercial and crass and have nothing to say.”

The “little dividing line” that links these elements is, says May, where he tries to put himself.  Having made his millions by writing an playing songs in Queen, he has arguably proved himself in the world of the arts.  He now hopes he can find some success with his foray into the world of science.

Reprinted with kind permission: www.physicsweb.org


**Thu 26 Oct 06**
PHENOMENA RE-RELEASE

Brian May features on this forthcoming re-release... in Phenomena III on the songs 'A Whole Lot Of Love' and 'What About Love'.

Escape Music are delighted to announce the forthcoming release of a triple CD Digipack which combines the first three Phenomena albums. These three classic recordings include an all star cast of musicians that include Glenn Hughes, Brian May, Ray Gillan, Scott Gorham and Don Airey plus many others. All three albums are of the highest quality, and the re-mastered package will include 6 bonus tracks, 3 brand new songs and 3 re-recordings.

The full recording line-up on...

Phenomena: Phenomena I:
Vocals: Glenn Hughes
Guitar: Mel Galley Bass: Neil Murray
Drums: Cozy Powell
Keyboards: Don Airey, Richard Bailey
Producer: Tom Galley
Production and concept consultant: Wilfried F. Rimensberger

Phenomena II Dream Runner:
Vocals: Ray Gillan, Glenn Hughes, John Wetton, Max Bacon
Guitar:Kyoji Yamomoto, Mel Galley, Scott Gorham, John Thomas
Bass: Neil Murray, John Wetton
Drums: Michael Sturgis, Toshihiro Miimi
Keyboards: Leif Johansen, Richard Bailey
Producer: Tom Galley
Project Director/Co-Producer: Wilfried F. Rimensberger.

Phenomena III Inner Vision
Vocals: Keith Murrell
Guitar: Brian May, Mel Galley, Scott Gorham
Drums; Michael Strugis
Keyboards: Leif Johansen
roducer: Tom Galley
Project Director/Co Producer: Wilfried F. Rimensberger
Co-Producer: Leif Johansen

Release date 7th December 06 Catalogue Number ESM142 .....More details of this exciting release to follow soon!


**Thu 26 Oct 06**
TRANSCRIPT BRIAN GMTV INTERVIEW THE SUNDAY PROGRAMME

LISTEN HERE (4.6MB mp3)

David Mills of GMTV went along to the Bang! Press Launch on Monday 23 October - having read the book already!! David conducted an interview with Brian May, which he shares with us here. Thanks David. This will run on GMTV on Sunday 5 November, time TBC but around 0630am on ITV1 and 0730am on ITV2 - later still on the new ITV2+1 channel.

Joan Bakewell will be conducting a studio interview with Chris Lintott tomorrow, to run in the same programme. We hope to have exact times. - and possibly a sound file - if the God's smile. Please check back.

---

INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN MAY AT THE LAUNCH OF
“BANG! A COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE”,
MONDAY 23RD OCTOBER 2006,
THE ROYAL SOCIETY, LONDON

DAVID MILLS: Some people might not realise that, as well as being a legendary rock guitarist, you’re also an astronomer of some renown. What first drew you to astronomy?

BRIAN MAY: [laughs] The Sky at Night, really. About the same age I got my first guitar, about seven years old. I begged to be able to stay up and watch Patrick Moore on The Sky at Night and that excitement has stayed with me ever since. I’ve always had the twin passions - I have many passions, I suppose, but the two big ones are music and astronomy.

DM: You’ve written this book with another legend - Patrick Moore - and a young gun of astronomy, Chris Lintott -

BM: Uh-huh, ‘young gun’, that’s a good expression, he is!

DM: What did you hope to achieve by writing the book?

BM: Well, part of it was the journey. As with many things, you have an aim but the actual business of doing it has been amazing. I just so much enjoyed working with these guys and learning so much, discovering so much on the way, and rediscovering some of the stuff which I’d really forgotten. And astronomy’s changed so much, you know, so really bringing myself up to date, was just a wonderful experience. But, the purpose of the book is really to bring the whole story of creation as we now think it runs to the general public and we felt it’s never quite been done. There have been some books that have attempted it, but they tend to be very difficult to understand, have lots of maths in and whatever. Or else they tend to skip the main concepts. So the challenge for us was to really look at every single stage of the Universe as we think we know it now from the Big Bang to the present day, 13.7 billion years of it, put it all in order, and in a way which everyone can understand. That was our brief.

DM: And I think you’ve managed it.

BM: Well, I’m thrilled that you think that! You’re one of the few people who’s read it so far, but that makes me very happy.

DM: Looking at the debate, there’s been a debate about how the Universe began, over the last century. You come down pretty firmly on one side, don’t you?

BM: Well we’ve, we’re not dogmatic about it but we’ve presented the case as we think it is at this point in time, supported by most of the astronomic community. Not all, not all. There are still astronomers who have grave doubts about the Big Bang, either in the grand essence or in details and things are being discovered every day which actually challenge the current view, but this is one of the rare moments in astronomy where most astronomers agree on the story on the grand scale.

DM: Now some people might say ‘It doesn’t really matter how the universe was created, what matters is the here and now’. What do you say to that?

BM: [laughs] Well, nothing really matters, does it, you know? Haha, I don’t know what matters. To me, knowledge for its own sake does matter. We are animals and I think we should be very aware of that, just the same as the rest of the animals on the Earth. But we have this capacity to enjoy knowledge, and enjoy art, music, poetry, and scientific knowledge is a beautiful thing. To know what is in the world around you. Whether it’s a flower, whether it’s another animal, or whether it’s the infinite, apparently infinite universe out there. Yeah, I think it’s absolutely worthwhile, otherwise, why are we here?

DM: One thing that does come through throughout the whole book is this humility about humans’ position in the great scheme of things. Do you think astronomy engenders that, produces that?

BM: Yes, yes I do actually. Astronomers have a good awareness of how small we are and it stops us getting too bound up in our importance. Yes I think that’s quite an important thing. To me there’s a great beauty about it as well. I’ve never lost that feeling of awe, looking up at the stars and thinking, “My God, isn’t it beautiful”, that’s never left me. So one of the great attractions for me in getting back into astronomy is that I can visit these beautiful observatory sites and just go there, and go “Wow”! [laughs]

DM: Unfortunately not everybody can go to these places, what’s you message to somebody who might be turned on to the idea of astronomy, but they’re in a big city, they might be in London, lots of light pollution.

BM: Yes, we’re robbed of most of the beauty of the heavens living in big cities. Yeah, the thing to do is to get out some place, where there’s not too much light. The nearest place to London where it’s reasonably good is out west, I would say, somewhere near Marlow you’re getting a dark sky, and then you can really see what the heavens ought to look like, you can see the Milky Way, you can see zodiacal light if you’re very lucky, and see many, many more stars than you would see in London. There was a comet a couple of years ago and a lot of people in London never saw it, you know. And it’s great, it’s rally worthwhile making the effort to get out and see a black sky, a dark sky.

DM: Finally, your many fans will be delighted to read the book and to get the book but they might be concerned that astronomy’s gain is rock music’s loss. Can you reassure them that you’ll be back out there?

BM: [laughs] Well, I’m in the studio at the moment, not this actual moment, but this whole week with Paul Rodgers and Roger , you know, I guess it’s a Queen and Paul Rodgers album which we’ve never attempted before. So it’s back to real studio creation, and full pelt. I have to say, a lot of passion there, it’s going to be some heavy stuff I think. [laughs]

DM: Well, thanks for talking to us this morning. Thank you.

BM: Thank you, great.

Printed with kind permission - check out David Mills' Blog page.


**Thu 26 Oct 06**
PRESS, TV - AND BANG! IN YOUR COUNTRY

A little more Press: Times2 published a half page piece yesterday (25 Oct), on Bang! The Complete History of the Universe and Press Conference.

As mentioned previously, Brian's interview with 'Newsnight Review', transmits this Friday night at 11pm on BBC2.

GMTV's David Mills interviewed Brian and Sir Patrick Moore from Monday's Press Conference. Sir Patrick told of his cricketing prowess. Don't miss this - Sunday 5 November on The Sunday Programme. Time TBC but around 0630am on ITV1 and 0730am on ITV2 - later still on the new ITV2+1 channel. (Click here for transcript of interview with Brian.) Chris Lintott will be going into the GMTV studio on Friday to do a similar interview, which will transmit, alongside the other interviews on Sunday. Chris Lintott will be going into the GMTV studio tomorrow (Friday) ay to do his interview, which will transmit, alongside the other interviews on Sunday.

Publication information received from Carlton Books. Negotiations under way to publish the book in the following countries as soon as possible:

Australia - Oct 06 Bookwise (See October highlights)
China
Czech Republic
Denmark
France (Sept 2007)
Finland
Germany

Greece
Holland
Hungary
Italy
Japan
Korea
New Zealand - Fri 20 Oct (Reed Books)

Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
Sweden
Spain

---

The Times2
25 October 2006

THE FACE
STARS IN HIS EYES
by Penny Wark

When Brian May as up there on the roof of Buckingham Palace to kick off Her Majesty's golden jubilee celebrations, it's a fair bet that most spectators had never heard the National Anthem sound so thrilling. Certainly not even those who understood the personal significance of May being silhouetted against the night sky would have thought: "There goes a poor little eclipse anorak." But that nerdy chap is what May, guitar god to the masses, sees in himself. Still.

Of course his fascination with astronomy is infinitely more sophisticated than he lets on; it's just that May doesn't have a stellar ego that puts it that way. The point is made only on occasions such as this week's launch of Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, the book May has co-authored with his friend, Sir Patrick Moore, and Chris Lintott.

May's fascination with astronomy began when he was 7 and saw The Sky at Night. He had just been given his first guitar, and although the latter enthusiasm would come to define him in public, he has never lost his passion for staring at stars. Like music, he has explained, it offers him a way of escaping his Eeyore instincts: for him it is a spiritual as well as an academic pursuit.

Brian Harold May was born in 1947 in Feltham in Middlesex and had the kind of safe middle-class upbringing that would suit an earnest small boy, but which would do nothing to prepare him for being a rock star: "I was not taught how tough life is." Sensibly, his parents steered him towards astronomy; so he did physics at Imperial College, got a first, and played in bands. It was after he met the art student who would become Freddie Mercury that Queen was formed, and as the band, and Mercury in particular, came to define new levels of performance flamboyance, May remained the reserved one who wrote hits such as We Will Rock You and provided technical brilliance.

Mercury's death in 1991 followed the death of May's beloved father, a gifted electronics engineer with whom he had built his guitar (Red Special), and May was treated for depression. He still uses Red Special and regards the guitar as his prime means of expression.

He has three children by his first wife, married the actress Anita Dobson, his long-term partner, in 2000 and lives in Surrey. He seems to lack the ego that demands celebrity recognition, and neither has he conspicuously taken to a rock star's life - indeed he has been troubled by the invasion his made has made into his privacy. He could have done without that kind of madness, he has said, and although he doesn't put his survival down to contemplating the vastness of the Universe, it has obviously provided a useful perspective.

---

METRO NEWSPAPER
24 October 2006

Moon shot: Queen guitarist Brian May launches the book he co-wrote about the history of the universe yesterday in London.

May wrote Bang! with Sky At Night hosts Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott.

The rock star was studying for a science PhD when Queen first burst on to the music scene.


**Thu 26 Oct 06**
ROCK-IT SCIENCE QUEEN STAR CONQUERING THE UNIVERSE

SPACE DAILY
TIME AND SPACE
London (AFP) Oct 23, 2006

As the guitar power in the legendary British rock band Queen, Brian May conquered most of the planet -- and now he has his sights set on mastering the universe. The star musician, who wrote hits like "We Will Rock You", "The Show Must Go On" and "Flash", has switched his plectrum for a pen and co-authored a book with two leading British astronomers, telling the story of the big bang and how the universe has evolved since.

"Bang! The Complete History of the Universe", was written with Sir Patrick Moore, who has presented BBC television's "The Sky at Night" since 1957, and cosmology expert Chris Lintott, Moore's regular sidekick on the show.

May, 59, earned a degree in physics at Imperial College London but after years of studying interplanetary dust, he abandoned work towards his doctorate when Queen -- fronted by stellar performer Freddie Mercury -- took off.

May said: "When I was seven years old, I got my first guitar. That's about the time when I first saw 'The Sky at Night' and the two passions have stayed with me throughout my life."

Decades of hard rocking later, he is now completing his thesis and hopes the colourful, 192-page book will be as successful as any of his hits.

"This is not a book for scientists, it's a book for everybody," said the world-renowned guitarist. "We firmly believe this is something which hasn't been achieved before, and that is a proper accounting of the story of the whole history of the universe from the big bang up to the present day and into the unforseeable future -- but in a form which can be understood."

Moore badgered May to write the book with him and the 83-year-old drafted the basic skeleton in two weeks. May and Lintott then spent two and a half years with the eccentric, xylophone-playing astronomy legend fleshing it out.

May's co-authors insist he has the credibility to write about stars as well as be one.

"Brian was an extremely hard task-master, we didn't get away with anything," said Lintott. "His papers are still leading the field in zodiacal light. He won't say so but it's true: I checked the figures," said the boffin. "I know people are waiting for his thesis. He's absolutely a top-class researcher."

Moore added: "Brian is a highly qualified, very eminent astronomer who has done fundamental work on his particular subject."

The book explains the history of the universe from the big bang 13.7 billion years ago, through the formation of the first stars, galaxies and planets and on into the evolution of human beings able to contemplate their origins and destiny in space.

"Astronomy should be enjoyed," May insisted. "I really hope this book will inspire people. We hope that we will inspire a new generation in the way that Sir Patrick inspired us."

May said he had thought about booking a seat on a commercial flight into space. "It's tempting; I do quite fancy the idea but I'm getting a little old for it now."

Queen first hit came in 1974, a year before Mercury's epic "Bohemian Rhapsody" -- often voted the greatest song ever -- stormed the charts.

The band stole the show at the mammoth 1985 Live Aid concert and Queen have spent more time in the British album charts than any other act.

Mercury died of AIDS in 1991, marking the end proper of the band, but May and drummer Roger Taylor returned to the stage as Queen in 2005 with Free singer Paul Rodgers and rocked arenas across Europe, Japan and the United States.

Source: Agence France-Presse


**Wed 25 Oct 06*
BRIAN TO BE ON NEWSNIGHT REVIEW FRIDAY

Brian was today interviewed by the BBC Newsnight Review, regarding the new book. You can catch the interview this Friday night, 27 October, at 11pm ON BBC2.

The latest edition of Review is usually available to watch on their website by noon on the Saturday after broadcast, on http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/review/default.stm


Wed 25 Oct 06**
MAY WRITES TOO

VH1 MUSIC FIRST
25 October 2006

Queen guitarist Brian May has two loves, music and astronomy. Back in the ‘70s, he left his doctoral studies in astronomy to play guitar with Queen, but he has now returned to the subject as a co-author of the book Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, which was released Monday. Co-authors May, Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott recount the formation of the universe from its origins more than 13-billion-years ago and looks forward to its end, several billion years from now. The Associated Press reports May, 59, said he sees similarities between his two great loves, music and astronomy, commenting, "I think there's a sort of purity about both of them. Because you can immerse yourself in thoughts of the universe, or in music, and you're really abstracted. You're a million miles away from all your worries and personal problems and the dust and smoke of where you are."


**Wed 25 Oct 06**
'BAD FOR GOOD' SAMPLE ON VH1.COM

Want to hear a little of Monster is Loose before you buy it - VH1 hosting short samples of the album tracks, including "Bad For Good" - Brian, of course, plays on the track

Hear Music First: Meat Loaf - LINK
VH1 Classic presents his new Bat Out of Hell III:The Monster Is Loose. Listen!

VH1 Newsletter


**Tue 24 Oct 06**
BANG! MEDIA COVERAGE

The Press and media coverage of the Bang! launch has been enormous - too much mention here - a search on Google news offers 125 articles on the topic !! Astounding.... to avoid too much repetition, we will list a few...

23 October 2006
Virgin Radio - mp3 - Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show
BBC Breakfast News - Link
BBC News 24
Capital Radio
Reuters' news report (see below) - the first report, filed directly after Press Conference
‘London Tonight’, ITV - ran their piece at 6pm

24 October 2006
Heart FM Breakfast Show - presenter Harriet Scott came to the conference and was talking about it and the book on this morning's show at approx 8.30am.
The Guardian - half page piece on the press conference and book, plus picture from the conference on the front page of the paper (bottom of the front page).
Metro - (free paper given out at all tube and train stations in the UK) - picture from the conference, mentioning the book.
Daily Star - piece on the book and quote from Brian's interview with the 'Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show' on Virgin Radio on the morning of the conference.

Photos on www.filmmagic.com

CHECK BACK FOR MORE

---

Editorial comment: Unfortunately Daily Star reporter still resorting to that silly Poodle Perm reference, in relation to Brian. When will they learn?

Daily Star
Tues 24 October 2005 page 19
JOE MOTT'S
AWARD WINNING
HOT
Edited by KIM DAWSON
BRI BITES THE DUST

BRIAN MAY is returning to school and studying for a PhD in, erm... planetary dust.

A subject Little Britain's fat fighter Marjorie Dawes would salivate over; it's quite different from rock and roll.

The poodle-haired axeman studied the subject before music became his career and, this week, releases his book, Bang, which covers it.

Bri, 59, told Virgin's Christian O'Connell, 34, "In the last few months I've been getting back into it. I'm hoping to re-register for the PhD. It has been a voyage of rediscovery for me.

"I had to give it up when Queen started to take of.."

What a star.

---

NEWS24.com (South Africa)
BRIAN MAY GOT STARS IN HIS EYES?
24/10/2006 12:02 - (SA)

London - As the guitar power in the legendary British rock band Queen, Brian May conquered most of the planet - and now he has his sights set on mastering the universe.

The star musician, who wrote hits like We Will Rock You, The Show Must Go On and Flash, has switched his plectrum for a pen and co-authored a book with two leading British astronomers, telling the story of the big bang and how the universe has evolved since.

"Bang! The Complete History of the Universe", was written with Patrick Moore, who has presented BBC television's The Sky at Night since 1957, and cosmology boffin Chris Lintott, Moore's regular sidekick on the show.

May, 59, earned a degree in physics at Imperial College London but after years of studying interplanetary dust, he abandoned work towards his doctorate when Queen - fronted by stellar performer Freddie Mercury - took off.

May said: "When I was seven years old, I got my first guitar. That's about the time when I first saw The Sky at Night and the two passions have stayed with me throughout my life."

Decades of hard rocking later, he is now completing his thesis and hopes the colourful, 192-page book will be as successful as any of his hits.

"This is not a book for scientists, it's a book for everybody," said the world-renowned guitarist. "We firmly believe this is something which hasn't been achieved before, and that is a proper accounting of the story of the whole history of the universe from the big bang up to the present day and into the unforeseeable future - but in a form which can be understood."

Moore badgered May to write the book with him and the 83-year-old drafted the basic skeleton in two weeks. May and Lintott then spent two and a half years with the eccentric, xylophone-playing astronomy legend fleshing it out.

May's co-authors insist he has the credibility to write about stars as well as be one.

"Brian was an extremely hard task master, we didn't get away with anything," said Lintott. "His papers are still leading the field in zodiacal light. He won't say so but it's true - I checked the figures - and I know people are waiting for his thesis. He's absolutely a top-class researcher."

Moore added: "Brian is a highly qualified, very eminent astronomer who has done fundamental work on his particular subject."

The book explains the history of the universe from the big bang 13.7 billion years ago, through the formation of the first stars, galaxies and planets and on into the evolution of human beings able to contemplate their origins and destiny in space.

---

THE GUARDIAN
GUITARIST JOINS ASTRONOMERS TO TELL HISTORY OF UNIVERSE
Maev Kennedy
Tuesday October 24, 2006

Brian May wore a resplendent rock god crimson velvet jacket, Sir Patrick Moore wore his monocle, and Chris Lintott wore a slightly sheepish smile, when the most unlikely trio in the history of publishing took a curtain call yesterday.

"Feels just like a record launch, amazing," Brian May said, and although there was a glaring absence of champagne, and the groupies wore anoraks, there were genuine stars.

Sir Patrick called May "the world's leading guitarist and a very good astrophysicist". In return May called him "the greatest man in the country". They both called Mr Lintott "the young gun of astronomy". He blushed.

Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, which they were launching yesterday, is aimed at the slightly nerdy small boys all three once were, and every age after that.

Katherine Blundell, an astrophysicist from St John's College, Oxford, had strict instructions from her physicist husband to get hold of a copy and have it autographed by all three - but if she could only get one, to go for May.

Strictly speaking Mr Lintott was the senior figure, since he is the only professional astronomer, and was awarded his doctorate last week.

Sir Patrick has only held down one full-time job, as director of the Armagh observatory in Northern Ireland, since he left the RAF after the second world war.

May abandoned his doctorate on interplanetary dust more than 30 years ago, to spend more time with his college band. Although the band, Queen, has done quite well - world record sales are estimated at between 150m and 300m - he promised guiltily yesterday to finish the doctorate as soon as possible.

The Sky At Night was first broadcast in April 1957, when Patrick Moore was 33, Brian May was seven, and Chris Lintott wasn't even a glint in a telescope's lens. What the three men have in common - apart from the fact that Sir Patrick wrote a comic opera called Galileo which Mr Lintott produced - is that the programme changed their lives.

"When I was seven years old I got my first guitar for my birthday, and for the first time I saw Sir Patrick on the Sky at Night, and the two passions stayed with me all my life," May recalled.

In 1957 Sir Patrick, then a young writer and amateur astronomer, had already proved in a live BBC broadcast, that he possessed that greatest gift in broadcasting - the unflappable ability to keep talking when technology fails and clouds blank out every star in the firmament.

He was invited to present the Sky at Night programme once a month, for three months. It is now the longest-running science television programme in the world. He has missed just one programme because of a near-fatal bout of food poisoning, but he delivered another through clenched teeth after breaking a denture on an olive stone on the way to the studio. It is now filmed from his home in West Sussex, because arthritis means he can no longer travel except in a wheelchair, and can no longer look through the giant telescope in his back garden, nor play his beloved music.

In 1957 the programme went out long past young May's normal bedtime, but he was allowed to stay up late to watch with his whole family, because it was educational. He credits the theme tune, At The Castle Gate, composed by Sibelius and chosen by Sir Patrick, with sparking his interest in music, and he became so besotted with astronomy that he and his father built his first telescope from a kit.

May has been a friend and regular guest on the programme since he and Moore first met in a television studio a few years ago. But during their journey to Scotland in 2003, to film an annular lunar eclipse, Sir Patrick suggested that they write a book together. They did bag that eclipse, unlike the 1999 solar eclipse which they missed in rainy Cornwall.

Unlike Stephen Hawking's much bought, little read, Brief History of Time, Bang! is meant to be read and understood. "If I can understand this," May said, "I think there's a good chance we can make anyone understand it."

What rock gods and astronomers have in common, their weary editor said yesterday, is that both are nocturnal animals. They said yesterday they have already begun discussing the next book. What could possibly follow the complete history of the universe from the Big Bang until the poor cold earth falls into the blazing sun?

"We've got as far as the title," Sir Patrick said.

"But we're not going to tell you," May added.

· Bang! The Complete History of the Universe by Brian May, Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott is published by Carlton Books, priced £20

---


REUTERS.COM
BANG! QUEEN'S BRIAN MAY MASTER OF UNIVERSE
Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:45 PM BST
By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Rock star Brian May from the supergroup Queen swapped his guitar for a telescope on Monday to launch a new book on his other great passion -- astronomy.

"I was always torn and I still am," said May, who abandoned the stars for stardom.

He gave up his PHD studies in interplanetary dust to help form Queen but now, almost four decades on, he has come full circle to co-write "Bang! The Complete History of the Universe" with astronomers Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott.

"To me it is a spiritual force in my life," May told Reuters at the book's London launch.

"I have been through some wonderful times in my life and also through some very deep depressions. The stars are one of the things that have always given me hope," said the tall and affable guitarist who revels in the contrasts of his life.

Rock icons may appear, to some people, to be egomaniacs in a world where hype reigns supreme and every whim is pandered to. But curly-haired May could not be further from the stereotype.

"I guess it keeps my feet on the ground," May said of his adoration of astronomy. "It helps me, it keeps my head straight."

Just going out on a clear night and looking at the stars and seeing the steady light of these beautiful objects and realising how small my problems were has always been a source of inspiration," he said.

The glossy tome is determinedly populist with May using himself as a yardstick to test out and understand its most complicated theories.

It tells how the Universe was born 13.7 billion years ago. Infinitely small at first, it expanded more rapidly than anyone can contemplate.

The authors explain how all this came about, from the moment when time and space came into existence to the evolution of human beings able to ponder their origins and ultimate destiny.

Not bad for the composer of the ultimate stadium chant -- "We Will, We Will Rock You."

So what on earth would Freddie Mercury, Queen's outrageously flamboyant lead singer, have made of all this?

Reflecting on how the singer who died of AIDS in 1991 might have reacted to the astronomer-author, May concluded: "I am sure he would be sitting there smiling and saying 'Oh Well, if you want to get into that darling, that's very good for you.'"


**Mon 23 Oct 06**
BANG! COUNTS DOWN TO ZERO TODAY

Visit www.banguniverse.com to see the final countdown...

IT'S ALMOST HERE !! The BANG! Countdown Clock reaches ZERO at lunchtime today, when 'Bang! The Complete History of the Universe' is officially launched.

The day is marked

- hopefully with Brian May appearing on BBC1 Breakfast (TV) after 8am

- and a little later in the day, Carlton Books will be holding a Press Conference to launch the book. Brian, Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott will be talking about how the book came about and outlining their own part in it, as well as answering questions from the assembled Press.


**Mon 23 Oct 06**
THE MONSTER IS LOOSE - OUT TODAY - WITH BRIAN ON 'BAD FOR GOOD'

|A week earlier than originally expected - out today "Bat Out of Hell Vol 3: The Monster Is Loose".

The third album of this trilogy features Brian May on guitar on the track' Bad for Good.'

Brian also features in "The Making Of Bat Out Of Hell 3 video on the DVD version.

Vinyl and CD only versions also released.

Bat Out Of Hell Vol 3: The Monster Is Loose/+DVD
~ Meat Loaf

Audio CD (23 Oct 2006)
Number of Discs: 2
Label: Mercury
ASIN: B000I0SEF0

Disc: 1
1. Monster Is Loose
2. Blind As A Bat
3. It's All Coming Back To Me Now
4. Bad For Good [feat Brian May]
5. Cry Over Me
6. In The Land Of The Pigs (The Butcher Is King)
7. Monstero
8. Alive
9. If God Could Talk
10. If It Ain't Broke Fix It
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Disc: 2
1. The Monster Is Loose – A Career Montage
2. Bat Out Of Hell 3 – Animated trailer
3. The Making of Bat Out Of Hell 3

Bat Out Of Hell Vol 3: The Monster Is Loose CD
~ Meat Loaf

Audio CD (23 Oct 2006)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Mercury
ASIN: B000I0SEFA CD -

1. Monster Is Loose
2. Blind as a Bat
3. It's All Coming Back to Me Now - Marion Raven
4. Bad For Good [feat Brian May]
5. Cry Over Me
6. In the Land of the Pig, The Butcher Is King
7. Monstero
8. Alive
9. If God Could Talk
10. If It Ain't Broke Break It
11. What About Love - Patti Russo
12. Seize the Night
13. Future Ain't What It Used to Be
14. Cry to Heaven

Bat Out Of Hell Vol 3: The Monster Is Loose VINYL

Vinyl (23 Oct 2006)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Mercury
ASIN: B000I0SEFK

1. Monster Is Loose
2. Blind As A Bat
3. It's All Coming Back To Me Now
4. Bad For Good [feat Brian May]
5. Cry Over Me
6. In The Land Of The Pigs (The Butcher Is King)
7. Monstero
8. Alive
9. If God Could Talk
10. If It Ain't Broke Break It
11. What About Love
12. Seize The Night
13. Future Ain't What It Used To Be
14. Cry To Heaven
15. Echo/Heaven Can Wait


**Sat 21 Oct 06**
FUN AT THE FUNERAL PARLOUR ON DVD

Rhys Thomas here. I wrote FUN AT THE FUNERAL PARLOUR for which Brian recorded the theme tune. Well, just to let the fans know that the series is now available on DVD.

Apart from the brilliant Brian May theme and a superb turn from Anita Dobson, there are lots of Queen jokes and connections, Brian Blessed/Flash Gordon, Another One Bites The Dust/Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy/ The Hero and Stone Cold Crazy all appear in the series, plus guest stars Paul Whitehouse, Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

Many thanks
Rhys

Ed....

A good one for the Christmas List1! Our favourite classic episode is "The Balls Of Doom". Rhys says that is his favourite too.

Fun At The Funeral Parlour DVD
~ Rhys Thomas

Product details
Actors: Rhys Thomas, Paul Whitehouse
Format: PAL
Language English
Region: Region 2 (This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
Number of discs: 1
Classification:
Studio: 2 Entertain Video
DVD Release Date: 18 Sep 2006
Run Time: 390 minutes




DVD Features:
Main Language: English
Commentaries on 6 episodes with Rhys Thomas, Tony Way, Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day and Phil Cornwell
Making Of documentary on Series 2
Extended scenes
Outtakes
ASIN: B000FPV8LK

Synopsis

An off-the-wall comedy centring on a family-run funeral home and the wacky characters that drift in and out. With a cast featuring many from THE FAST SHOW, FUN AT THE FUNERAL HOME is black comedy at its best.


**Fri 20 Oct 06**
BANG! SHOP IS OPEN

You can purchase your copy of BANG! The Complete History of the Universe from the brand new BANG! SHOP

A whole range of BANG! related merchandise will bedded shortly, to acompany the book, so check back soon for details


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