brian news

SEPTEMBER 2013

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ANNOUNCING
BRIAN MAY DIABLERIES TALKS 2013

Direct link to this schedule
See also www.diableries.co.uk

Diableries scene

Date
2013  
 

EVENTS COMPLETED
 

4 Oct

CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL (4-13 October 2013) Website

DIABLERIES: STEREOSCOPIC ADVENTURES IN HELL
BRIAN MAY AND DENIS PELLERIN
QUICKFIND L021
Fri 4 Oct 6:00PM - 7:00PM
THE SALON, MONTPELLIER GARDENS
£8 RES - MEMBERS 10% OFF - Booking

In this lavishly illustrated event, the Queen guitarist Brian May and one of his co-authors Denis Pellerin join us to mark the publication of Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell. They share their lifelong passion for the extraordinary and beguiling 19th Century art of stereophotography, presenting an imaginary underworld of devils, satyrs and skeletons – all alive and having fun. 3-D glasses provided!

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BIG NIGHT OUT TICKET: PRE-SHOW
LIVE AID - INC. DINNER

DYLAN JONES, BRIAN MAY AND MIDGE URE
QUICKFIND LD026
Fri 4 Oct 7:30PM - 10:00PM
£36 - MEMBERS £34.40 - Booking

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Brian also taking part in an on-stage discussion about Live Aid to fit in with the festival theme of memory....

LIVE AID
DYLAN JONES, BRIAN MAY AND MIDGE URE
QUICKFIND L026
FRI 4 OCT 8:45PM - 10:00PM
THE TIMES FORUM
£16 RES - MEMBERS 10% OFF

On Saturday 13th July 1985 nearly two billion people woke up knowing they were going to watch, listen to, or attend Live Aid. GQ Editor Dylan Jones’ The Eighties:One Day, One Decade brilliantly evokes the excitement of that extraordinary day, which he argues, changed Britain for ever. He joins the Queen guitarist Brian May, and the musician and co-founder of Live Aid Midge Ure to share their behind-the-scenes insights into the day that rocked the world, and discuss the Live Aid legacy.



Pre-book launch. Presentation and Diableries ONLY book signing

21 Oct


BARNES & NOBLE (NEW YORK
) - website

Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell
Author Event: BRIAN MAY, DENIS PELLERIN, PAULA FLEMING (Book-signing)
Monday October 21, 2013 12:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
Fifth Ave
555 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017, 212-697-3048



Diableries ONLY book signing

21 Oct


THE STRAND BOOKSTORE (NEW YORK) - website

Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell
Queen guitarist Brian May in conversation with his co-authors Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming on their book.

Monday October 21, 2013, 7:00PM – 8:00PM
The Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway
NEW YORK, NY 10003-4805

Phone: 212.473.1452 | 212.473.2591 fax
Nearest Transit: Union Square (4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R)
Store hours: Mon-Sat 9:30 AM-10:30 PM | Sun 11:00 AM-10:30 PM

The tumultuous environment of 19th century France happened to align with the earliest innovations in photography … and so “diableries” were born. These strange, miniature tableaus of costumed devils and their attendants presented scenes that were often wry, dark commentaries on the events of the world around them. These small photographs, which appeared as 3-D when viewed through special glasses, were pop-culture predecessors to a whole tradition of French works, from Baudelaire to Rimbaud to Bataille. Brian May, formerly lead guitarist with Queen, is one of the foremost collectors of diableries and is an expert on this bizarre and fascinating art form. Now in Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell May shares images of the Diableries in his collection and explores the rich and exciting history that surrounds them. Brian May will speak with Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming, co-authors of Diableries, and share insights into the fascinating world of stereoscopes.

Buy a copy of Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell or a $20 Strand gift card in order to attend this event. All options admit one person. Please note that payment is required for all online event orders at the time of checkout. The event will be located in the Strand's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at our store at 828 Broadway at 12th Street. EVENT FAQ.*

PRE-ORDERS SIGNED COPIES: Unable to get to the event? Signed copies can be pre-ordered HERE. (Pre-ordering intended for those who can't attend the event. Sorry personalised inscription not possible on pre-orders.) PRE-ORDERS FAQ.


Talk and book signing
Diableries or authors' books at their discretion - see FAQs*


30 Oct

BRITISH LIBRARY - Website

DIABLERIES: STEREOSCOPIC ADVENTURES IN HELL
BRIAN MAY, DENIS PELLERIN, PAULA FLEMING
Wed 30 Oct 2013, 14.30-16.00 - followed by book signing
Conference Centre, British Library
£7.50 / £5 concessions
Book now for 30 Oct 2013

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable Halloween experience, surrounded by a fantastical 3D underworld of devils, satyrs and skeletons!

An Englishman (Brian May), a Frenchman (Denis Pellerin) and an American (Paula Fleming) were united by a rare passion for collecting Diableries (‘Devilments’): ghoulish stereo cards originally produced in France in the 1860s. In their quest to resolve the many mysteries of the bizarre imagery, they have collaborated on a new book featuring the Diableries, and today present these extraordinary visions on the big screen.

Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell, by Brian May, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming is published in hardback by The London Stereoscopic Company in October.



Presentation and Diableries ONLY book signing
31 Oct

WATERSTONE'S KENSINGTON Website

Meet Brian May
Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell

Thursday, 31 October 2013, 6:00PM

Brian May is the legendary guitarist from Queen, but his wide-ranging interests include astrophysics and the gothic. His sumptuous, uncanny new book is Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell and he will be at Waterstones to sign copies. Note: no memorabilia will be signed at this event.

Further details: 020 7937 8432



Diableries ONLY book signing


1 Nov

ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY Website

DIABLERIES: STEREOSCOPIC ADVENTURES IN HELL
DR BRIAN H MAY CBE, DENIS PELLERIN AND PAULA FLEMING

Fri 1 Nov 2013
Time: 6:30PM - 9:00PM
Location: RIBA, 6 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD
Doors open from 6pm.
Cost: £15.00 - Members: £12.00 - Booking

An exclusive 3D presentation and lecture to celebrate the publication of the London Stereoscopic Company's Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell by Dr Brian H May CBE, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming.

The authors - led by Queen guitarist, astronomer and photo-historian Brian May - will present a Gothic Victorian underworld of temptation, seduction, retribution and devilish fun brought alive in colour and 3D. Learn about the origins and hidden meanings of these rare 1860s French photographs which depict an imaginary underworld populated by devils, satyrs and skeletons.

Put on your 3D glasses and prepare to be surprised!

The evening will also provide an opportunity to buy copies of the book and to have them signed by the authors.

The lecture and book signing will take place at RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD. Doors open from 6pm.

This will be the first opportunity to hear the fascinating story of the diableries and to purchase the book which is published on Halloween, 31 October. The book is 280 pages with 500 photographs in colour and black and white and comes complete with an OWL stereo viewer designed by Brian May. www.londonstereo.co.uk

Tickets are available online from The RPS shop here or call +44 (0)1225 32533.



Lecture and Diableries ONLY book signing

6 Nov

GALLERY ON THE GREEN - Website

EXHIBITION - DIABERLIES: STEREOSCOPIC ADVENTURES IN HELL
by Brian May 6 Nov to 14 Dec

Official opening of Gallery on the Green, plus talk/presentation at Victoria Hall, Settle

Brian May returns to the Gallery on the Green with an exhibition of ‘Diableries‘ – French devil tissue stereoscopic images discovered and researched by the London Stereoscopic Company. To launch the exhibition, there will be a lecture at Settle’s Victoria Hall on 6th November 2013.

DIABLERIES: STEREOSCOPIC ADVENTURES IN HELL
A lecture by Brian May and fellow authors
Wed 6 Nov - 7.30 pm

Victoria Hall,
Settle
N Yorkshire - Booking

Victoria Hall is honoured to be hosting an exclusive 3D presentation and lecture to celebrate the publication of the London Stereoscopic Company's Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell by Dr Brian May CBE, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming.

The authors - led by Queen guitarist, astronomer and photo-historian Brian May - will present a Gothic Victorian underworld of temptation, seduction, retribution and devilish fun brought alive in colour and 3D. Learn about the origins and hidden meanings of these rare 1860s French photographs which depict an imaginary underworld populated by devils, satyrs and skeletons.

Put on your 3D glasses and prepare to be surprised!

The evening will also provide an opportunity to buy copies of the book (published in hardback by The London Stereoscopic Company, October 2013, £40) and to have them signed by the authors.

Those who heard Brian speak 3 years ago will not want to miss this.

Doors open at 6.45 pm. All tickets: £12.



Official opening, talk, presentation
- Diableries ONLY book signing

7 Nov

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY - LEICESTER

EXCLUSIVE DMU lecture and book signing
Dr Brian May, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming
take you on a dark journey to a fantastic imaginary underworld of devils, satyrs and skeletons and explore the intricacies of 19th century political and cultural life through the magic of stereoscopy.

4.30 pm Hugh Aston Building, De Montfort University. (Approx 1 hr followed by book signing - books wil be available to buy)

Students should please come to Clephan 0.30 to sign up and collect your exclusive lenticular ticket by no later than midday on Tuesday 5 November.


Talk & book signing

9 Nov

LONDON STEREOSCOPIC SOCIETY MEETING - website

Sat 9th Nov – 2pm. Members and invited guests only.


Talk / presentaiton & signing

14 Nov

BATH LITERATURE FESTIVAL

Toppings Book Store event
Bath

Venue:
Christ Church, Julian Road, Bath BA1 2RH
Date Thursday 14th November
Time Doors open at 7.45pm for 8pm star. - Booking



Talk & signing

© brianmay.com


**Thu 19 Sep 13**
BRIAN MAY CIRQUE DE SOLEIL
Direct link

Wednesday evenng Brian attended the early performance of Cirque Du Solili's "O" production, basd at the Hotel Bellagio, in Las Vegas. This was on the 2nd day of rehearsals with Adam Lambert for Friday's iHeart Radio Music Festival's

Brian is reported to have said “I’ve been told this is the best show in town to see. I can’t wait!”

© brianmay.com


**Wed 18 Sep 13**
JIMI HENDRIX - GONE 43 YEARS
Direct link

Jimi Hendrix, American musician and songwriter, died 43 years ago toda (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970)):

"I'd put a lot of work into playing guitar, and was thinking I was pretty damn good. But Hendrix came along and destroyed everyone."
- Brian May

Huffington Post have collected quotes about Jimi Hendrix from many artists HERE.

Brian has covered Jimi Hendrix songs:
1967 - Purple Haze (1984): http://youtu.be/uWHio4Gwt9k
1992 - Hey Joe (with Paul Rodgers, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai , Expo 92 Sevilla "Guitar legend" : http://youtu.be/FKjVo2Ao4eE
1998 - One Rainy Wish (Another World): http://youtu.be/fLYL3ZngcM8
2004 - Little Wing: Brian san at WWRY Sydney Premiere and After Show Party Oct 2004
2006 - Red House (Queen+PR, Vancouver): http://youtu.be/pB5q0T_o1t8

Simon Croft and Brian May - WWRY Sydney afterparty
WWRY Sydney Afterparty- Simon Croft and Brian May

© brianmay.com


**Wed 18 Sep 13**
INTERVIEW BRIAN MAY - WWRY OPENING BALTIMORE 15 OCT
Direct link

WE WILL ROCK YOU (USA TOUR) OPENS IN BALTIMORE TUESDAY 15 OCTOBER 2013

BRIAN MAY interviewed for Baltimore Magazine:

Cameo: Brian May, Queen guitarist; music supervisor for We Will Rock You
- talking to Amy Mulvihill

We Will Rock You is launching its U.S. tour at the Hippodrome Oct. 15-20, but I read that neither you nor [Queen drummer] Roger Taylor was a big fan of musicals before this. What made you want to do this?

Well, We Will Rock You is a musical, you know, and we came in to it as a body of people who really didn't relate that well to the genre of musical theater. We didn't want to put on something like My Fair Lady. This is rock and roll and it had to be something very different.

So, we kind of acquainted ourselves with the rules and we're still learning.

You come in to this with a certain amount of humility obviously, but you want to change the world. So, we kind of acquainted ourselves and we gathered together a team around us, which was partly built for rock and roll people and partly from theatrical people, and it became this great kind of mélange. So, we sort of hesitated calling it a musical because a musical means that old thing, so we said it's a rock theatrical. It's something, which is very rock and roll, very organic, but at the same time has the values of the musical theater, which is that you encapsulate the whole story, the whole world in that couple of hours when you're on the stage.

I've read that the show sometimes changes or adds references to appeal to local audiences. Anything planned for Baltimore or the U.S., in general?

Ben Elton (Blackadder) is quite a miraculous writer/producer because he will go in there with every new company and be part of the creative process. He will look at somebody playing [the villain] Khashoggi and say okay, well, maybe we can get you to do this and maybe we can change the script to do this. And the whole production will start to evolve in to something, which is rooted in the town where it's happening.

Queen's catalogue is so well known and beloved. Were there any changes necessary to present the songs in this new format?

Strangely enough, it wasn't that difficult to put the songs in there because those songs are root bound. A lot of Queen stuff is about finding yourself, finding freedom ah, breaking away from where you are, breaking in to the world. You know, “We Are The Champions,” “I Want to Break Free.” It's kind of all there.

So yes, most of the songs are delivered intact without even any lyric changes. But there are a couple we took hold of and made them tell the story of We Will Rock You. One is the introduction, which is “Radio Gaga.” “Radio Gaga” becomes a song about what's happening in the future, everything's internet, everything's advertising, everything is kind of pushed in to your head, the kids have no freedom to think for themselves. So, that becomes an introductory song to the whole scenario of We Will Rock You, which is a bleak future. The people are in chains, not physically, but mentally, because they're being fed what we're being fed now—the whole advertising and Internet saga, marketing, how everything is marketed.

Freddie Mercury was an iconic rock frontman with a remarkable voice. How difficult is it to find people to fill his vocal shoes, so to speak?

It’s a great thing, We Will Rock You, because it has not become a rubber stamp. Most musicals you'll find are moved from city to city but they are stamped with exactly the same moves, the same way of singing and same way of acting. We Will Rock You has never been that way and we encourage people to bring their own talents in to it and make it what they can make it. I mean there's a script obviously, and there are certain things which need to happen but, within that there's a lot of freedom for people to, to be themselves. But it's a big ask really, and it was very difficult in the beginning to find people who understood what we were trying to do because obviously you're auditioning people who have brought up in musical theater. They're taught how to project, how to make each note last the length of the syllable and it's very much not what we wanted. We wanted people to be instinctive and to be in a sense rock stars. So, they have to be able to act, they have to be convincing, they have to be able to sing. A lot of them have to be able to dance as well.

And the final big ask is you have to actually be a rock star, and it was hard in the beginning but we were very lucky, we managed to find some great people and it was a really brilliant original team.

From that point on millions of people have seen it now so, people come in and they already know what's required. And in a sense the hard thing is to say, don't do it like you've seen it done, do it like you feel from the inside so we can keep this show fresh. So, some people will come and try to sing it exactly like the cast album and we go please don't do this, take another step back, go away and think about it and sing as you would feel if, if you'd lost your best friend.

So it's a constant reaffirmation of the fact that We Will Rock You really is about freedom and not being locked in a box.

Is it strange watching other people sing and play your parts or are you able to divorce yourself from the experience?

Most days it's great. It was strange in the beginning and I had that itch to get on stage. Funny thing is I still have the itch and occasionally I can indulge it because I'll go on at the end of the show and play “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And I can be hero. It’s a very nice thing—the cast and band do this incredible job on stage and then I can go on and get all the applause. So, it’s fantastic for me.

But I love being a producer, I love standing back and changing little things and watching the show grow. But, to get down there and get sweaty with the performers is great.

SOURCE: BALTIMORE MAGAZINE - OCTOBER 2013

© brianmay.com


**Wed 18 Sep 13**
BRIAN MAY TO ATTEND BADGER VACCINATION CONFERENCE
Direct link

BACVI

ZSL

Brian will be attending the BADGER AND CATTLE VACCINTION INITIATIVE (BACVI) Badger TB Conference on Thursday 3 October with Jon Snow Chair. Some tickets are still available.

TICKETS can be bought online at £40 HERE.

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ZSL London Zoo., entitled Vaccination in the control of Bovine TB. It will be held on October 3rd.

Chairing on the day will be Jon Snow and Professor David McDonald.

The one-day event, with speakers who are leading experts from academic, government and charitable organisations, will explore the principles behind vaccination and practical use in the field.

Principal topics will include:
- How vaccines work at the individual and population levels.
- Recent uses of vaccination for disease control and elimination in wild and domestic animals.
- Practical low cost deployment of injected badger vaccination.
- Development of oral badger vaccines.
- Current status and prospects for cattle vaccination against Bovine TB.
- Followed by discussion and debate with a panel drawn from the main speakers and other experts.

PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME

10.00am Introduction and Welcome
Jon Snow, journalist and broadcaster

10:05: Opening remarksProf David Macdonald CBE DSc FRSE
Director, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford Chair, Science Advisory Committee, Natural England

SESSION 1: THE SCIENCE AND DEVELOPMENT OF BADGER VACCINATIONChairman: Jon Snow

10:15: Comparing the epidemiological effects of badger vaccination and cullingProf Rosie Woodroffe, Zoological Society of London

10:35: Badger vaccine development and efficacyDr Mark Chambers, Animal Health-­Veterinary Laboratories Agency

10:55: Development of oral badger vaccinesDr Eamonn Gormley, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Dublin

11:15: Coffee

11:30: Badger vaccination – impacts and implementation in the fieldDr Gavin Wilson, Wildlife Programme, Animal Health-­Veterinary Laboratories Agency

11:50: Badger vaccination – practicalities of using injectable vaccinesDr Gordon McGlone OBE, former CEO of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

SESSION 2: THE SCIENCE AND DEVELOPMENT OF CATTLE VACCINATIONChairman: Jon Snow

12:10: Cattle vaccine development for the UKSpeaker to be confirmed

12:30: The development of a test to differentiate infected from vaccinated animalsProf Cath Rees, Associate Professor of Microbiology, University of Nottingham

12:50: Lunch

SESSION 3: BOVINE TB VACCINATION POLICY
Chairman: Prof David Macdonald

14:00: Developing policy for the use of TB vaccines in badgers and cattle in England
Stephen Cane, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

14:30: Developing policy for the use of TB vaccines in badgers and cattle in Wales
Prof Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer, Welsh Government

15:00 Tea

Session 4: DISCUSSION FORUM

Chairman: Prof David Macdonald

15:15 PanelDiscussion
All speakers

16:30 Meeting closes

© brianmay.com


**Tue 17 Sep 13**
EXPOSED: MORE PILOT CULL DECEIT
Direct link

Badger Trust logoBADGER TRUST
17 September 2013

Bit by bit, day by day the badger pilot culls are being exposed for what they are, a sham-- an exercise in secrecy, deceit, and incompetence, says the Badger Trust.

Trumpeted by Defra and Secretary of State Owen Paterson as an objective science-driven assessment of the safety, efficacy and humaneness of night shooting they have now been shown in their true light, a costly shambles, a politically driven charade in which the ultimate decisions on their humaneness and effectiveness will be made not objectively by independent experts but subjectively by ministers.

The latest revelation comes in an admission (1) from the Government Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens, that DEFRA has no hard and fast rules on what constitutes a humane kill or on how they will decide if the cull has been a success on humaneness grounds. He said this meant the final decision had to be taken by ministers rather than the independent panel of vets and scientists advising them.

Says Badger Trust chairman Dave Williams: “This is scandalous. It’s akin to an accused man in court being judge and jury. For the public to have any faith in the outcome of these widely condemned trials the verdict has to be dispassionate, objective and expert.

“Owen Paterson fails on all three counts. He has driven the campaign to slaughter over 100,000 badgers. He claims to care about badgers but admits he would like to see their legal protection removed. He has ignored the overwhelming opposition of independent scientific opinion.

“He promised robust monitoring of the pilot culls. But we learn that the six-week trials will be overseen by only a handful of monitors and that only a tiny number of carcasses will be examined by experts to assess slaughter efficiency and humaneness. It also seems apparent that the number of badgers so far killed falls far short of the licence targets.

“This is an ill conceived, cruel and futile DIY culling campaign that exposes farmers to public hostility and which even if successful would barely dent the bovine TB problem. The e-petition opposing it reached a record-breaking 303,000, and the growing support in parliament for the early day motion calling on the Government to have a further debate in Westminster once the pilot culls are completed --and before any decisions are taken on a national cull policy—is a clear sign that more and more MPs, forced by whips to toe the line in the last debate, are increasingly critical of this unpopular policy.

“Along with hundreds of thousands of conservationists and people who care about wildlife Badger Trust says it’s time to call off the culls, back vaccination, and to rigorously enforce the new cattle-based measures.”

(1) The Times, online, September 17

Jack Reedy

© brianmay.com


**Mon 16 Sep 13**
MINISTERS, NOT VETS, TO MAKE FINAL DECISION WHETHER BADGER CULLS ARE CRUEL OR NOT
Direct link

Stop The CullTHE TIMES
16 September 2013 byBen Webster Environment Editor

Ministers will decide if the cull should be extended to 40 more areas Ben Birchall/PA

Ministers will use a “subjective judgment” of the humaneness of shooting badgers to help them decide whether to extend the cull to up to 40 more areas, the Government’s chief vet said. Nigel Gibbens revealed that there were “no definitive criteria for determining humaneness” of shooting badgers. He said this meant the final decision had to be taken by ministers rather than the independent panel of vets and scientists advising them.

Campaigners against the cull said the revelation that humaneness would be determined partly by personal opinion rather than purely on objective evidence cast more doubt on the scientific justification for killing badgers to reduce bovine TB.

About 5,000 badgers are due to be shot in Gloucestershire and Somerset by early next month in trials licensed to test whether shooting is an acceptably humane method of killing badgers.

After receiving the results, Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, who strongly supports farmers who blame badgers for infecting their cattle, will decide whether to license ten more cull zones a year for the next four years. More than 100,000 badgers could eventually be shot.In a letter in July to Humane Society International, which is campaigning against the cull,

Mr Gibbens wrote: “As judgments on humaneness are to some extent subjective, it is appropriate that a final decision on humaneness is taken by ministers, who are publicly accountable for their decisions and actions. However, this decision will be based on all relevant information collected during the monitoring, together with the panel’s expert assessment of this informaion.”

In a second letter last week, he added: “There are ... no definitive criteria for determining humaneness in this context.” Mr Gibbens also pointed out that “controlled shooting” was a method “widely used and considered humane for culling other mammals, including deer, foxes and rabbits”.

Mark Jones, the director of Humane Society International and a vet, said: “The chief vet’s admission that there are no definitive criteria for measuring humaneness is extremely worrying because it suggests ministers will decide whether or not to roll out culling across large swaths of the countryside based on a highly subjective and completely secret assessment that appears to lack any scientific credibility or independent scrutiny. Measuring badger suffering is supposed to be one of the central justifications for the pilot culls, but it’s quite clear that they are making it up as they go along.”

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the trial culls were “not a science experiment”. Defra said in a statement: “Ministers will be provided with all the independently assessed evidence from the pilot culls, as well as advice from a range of experts on humaneness, before making a final decision on the suitability of the controlled shooting method.”

An animal charity said yesterday that it had received the body of a badger that had been shot in the Somerset cull zone but may have crawled some distance before dying. Elizabeth Mullineaux, a vet who advises Secret World Wildlife Rescue, said a post-mortem examination was being carried out but it was already clear “that death wasn’t instant as the badger had moved away from the shooter and was found by the volunteers rather than the Defra operative who shot it”.

Defra denied that the badger had been killed as part of the official culls. It said all those marksmen carrying out the cull had reported that all the badgers they had shot had been “killed instantly”.

© brianmay.com


**Mon 16 Sep 13**
CHARITY: PICTURES SHOW BADGERS ARE DYING IN AGONY
Direct link

ITV.com
16 September 2013

UK Badger cull Somerset

The animal rescue centre Secret World in Highbridge, Somerset, says a post mortem on a dead badger (pictured) proves the animals are suffering painful deaths as part of the badger cull. It is the first photo released of a culled badger.

They say that the position of the badger's organs outside its body - which is too graphic to publish - and the fact it was found away from its sett, show that it did not die instantaneously, but ran away mortally wounded.

Photographs at ITV.com
- The badger during a post mortem examination. Credit: Secret World
- The x-ray showing the badger's organs outside its body. Credit: Secret World

© brianmay.com


**Mon 16 Sep 13**
BRIAN MAY TO EXPOSE LATEST 3D ADVENTURE
Direct link

Brian MayAMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY
12 September 2013 by Chris Cheesman

Queen guitarist Brian May is set to reveal the results of his mission to uncover the origin of a rare series of 1860s French stereo cards, called Diableries.

Brian May has co-authored a book called Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell and will give a talk about the project at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London on 1 November.

The event will mark the Halloween launch of the book, which May has written with photo-historians Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming. The authors will present a ‘Gothic Victorian underworld of temptation, seduction, retribution and devilish fun brought alive in colour and 3D', according to the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) which is organising the event.

The 280-page book, priced £40, contains 500 photographs and will come with a stereo viewer designed by the musician.

The 3D presentation and lecture will give visitors the chance to learn about the 'origins and hidden meaning of these rare 1860s French photographs which depict an imaginary underworld populated by devils, satyrs and skeletons', adds the RPS.

In an interview with Amateur Photographer (AP) in 2011, May explained how he was working with French and American researchers to shed light on the origin of Les Diableries. Tissues feature a print on a piece of photographic paper, with colours painted on the back. The viewer only sees colour when the image is held up to the light. Red gels are used for the devils' eyes.

‘There's a magical transformation between what appears to be a daylight view... and a night-time view when you hold it up to the light,' he said.

‘They are also fascinating because they give a complete parody of life in 1860s France - very satirical.' May's zeal for imaging stretches back to the time he spent in his father's darkroom.

‘I was lucky enough to have a dad who spent hours and hours with me in the darkroom, developing our own pictures and printing them,' May told AP's news editor in 2011.

Tickets for the event at the Royal Institute of British Architects, which includes a book signing, cost £15.

To book, call the RPS on 01225 325733 or visit www.rps.org

Diableries pair

© brianmay.com


**Mon 16 Sep 13**
RELEASED TODAY 2012 SUNFLOWER SUPERJAM DVD - WIN SIGNED POSTER!
Direct link

Sunflower Superjam 2012RELEASED TODAY - The Sunflower SUPERJAM 2012, which took place 16 September, was a once-in-a-lifetime event that you can now experience with the release of the DVD. On stage together for the only time, you can watch Alice Cooper, Brian May, Kerry Ellis, Bruce Dickinson ,John Paul Jones, Sandi Thom, Ian Paice, Brian Auger, Mark King, Alfie Boe and a host of other exceptional musicians 'jam' at the Royal Albert Hall, making the iconic venue rock like never before.

Plus, enjoy the Sunflower SUPERJAM 2011 on the bonus disc with performances from Deep Purple, Rick Wakeman, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Brooker, Newton Faulkner and including the last live performance from the legendary Jon Lord. Produced by The Sunflower Jam charity, all monies raised will go directly to supporting the research and application of holistic and non-toxic treatments for children and young adults suffering from cancer.

See full tracklisting HERE

Various Artists - The Sunflower Jam 2012 (Exclusive 2 DVD set) (PAL)
DVD £19.99
Release Date: 16/09/2013
Discs: 2 - ORDER HERE (PAL)

Various Artists - The Sunflower Jam 2012 (Exclusive 2 DVD set) (NTSC)
DVD £19.99
Release Date: 16/09/2013
Discs: 2 - ORDER HERE (NTSC)

Sunflower Jam

SIGNED POSTER TO WIN
The Sunflower Jam folks have a fab Sunflower SUPERJAM 2012 poster, signed by the artists that performed, to give away! To enter the prize draw, simply tweet a picture of yourself excitedly clutching your newly acquired DVD to @thesunflowerjam or (if you've resisted the Twitter trend) email your pictures to info@thesunflowerjam.com. The lucky winner will be selected at random -
... so get snapping Jammers!

© brianmay.com


**Sun 15 Sep 13**
BADGER WILDLIFE CHARITY CLAIMS TO FIND SHOT ANIMAL

WARNING - PHOTO FROM SECRET WORLD BELOW REPORT

BBC NEWS SOMERSET
15 September 2013

A wildlife charity said it has found the body of a badger it claims has been shot during the six-week cull aimed at curbing bovine TB. Secret World said the young female was discovered in the Somerset cull zone on Saturday, by a volunteer night patrol that looks for injured badgers. The charity said it appeared the animal had not died "instantaneously".

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was confident the badger was unconnected to the cull. Badgers are being shot in Somerset and Gloucestershire in an attempt to control TB in cattle.

Under the proposals, about 5,000 badgers will be culled in the two pilot zones.

'Shot through chest'

Pauline Kidner, from Secret World Wildlife Rescue, which is based in Somerset, said: "People will be outraged by the reality of what is happening in the Somerset and Gloucestershire countryside. "No direct comments can be made on the 'humaneness' of killing in this case without the involvement of a veterinary pathologist. The fact that the badger was not picked up immediately by licensed operatives and was found some distance from where it was believed to have been shot, suggests a period of 'flight' after the shot was made, indicating that death was not instantaneous."

She said the veterinary surgeon who had examined the carcass suggested the badger had been shot through the chest wall.

Campaigners against the cull say it will have no impact on bovine TB, and could lead to local populations of badgers being wiped out.

The government says the action is needed to help tackle bovine TB, a disease of cattle that has been steadily rising since the 1980s. The pilot scheme began in Somerset at the end of August but no-one involved will say how many badgers have been shot or killed so far.

A Defra spokesperson said: "We won't be going into details about the culls while they're happening, but we are confident that the badger Secret World claim to have is not connected to the culls."

Shot badger

Secret World said a vet had suggested the badger had been shot in the chest

© brianmay.com


**Sat 14 Sep 13**
GOVERNMENT CHIEF VET ADMITS HE CAN'T DEFINE WHAT'S A 'HUMANE' KILL OF BADGERS
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DAILY EXPRESS
14 September 2013 by Owen Bennett in Brighton

ANIMAL welfare campaigners tonight called for an immediate end to the controversial badger cull after the Government's Chief Veterinary Officer admitted there is “no definitive criteria” for measuring how humane the current pilot operations are.

Save The Badgers placard on farm gate
The Government's badger cull has been heavily criticised

Express Online has obtained a copy of a letter written from chief vet Nigel Gibbens in which he has admitted that ministers will have no hard and fast rules on what constitutes a humane kill when they come to decide whether the pilot badger cull has been a success.

The Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has previously insisted any decision to roll the pilots in Somerset and Gloucestershire out nationwide will significantly depend on whether killings have been humane. Defra has sanctioned the night-time shooting of badgers in the two cull zones, but the Guardian reported yesterday that so few have been killed to date, the entire project in its current format is under threat. It reported that officials have even discussed using gassing as a more effective culling method.

Brian May
The campaign has been led by Queen guitarist Brian May

However, such a move would provoke even more fury from welfare campaigners. The Green Party is due to raise an emergency motion on the matter at its annual conference in Brighton tomorrow. They are deeply concerned by a letter sent by Mr Gibbens to the Humane Society International UK on Thursday in which he tried to outline how the cull will be assessed.

He wrote: “Ministers will have access to advice from individuals with expertise in these areas [animal welfare and veterinary pathology]. The independent panel includes individuals with such expertise, who will assess the results of the monitoring and report to Ministers. There are, however, no definitive criteria for determining humaneness in this context.”

Green Party spokesman on animal issues Caroline Allen, who is a vet, demanded an immediate halt to the cull.

Owen Paterson
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson believes the cull could eradicate bovine TB

She said: “They don’t know how they are going to measure humaneness, so they are not going to be meeting a key objective of the cull. I think as the Government’s chief vet you have to take the welfare of the animals very seriously, and it seems he has neglected to do that.”

There have been a number of high profile protests against the badger cull, and the campaign has been spearheaded by Queen guitarist Brian May.

Backers of the cull include the National Farmers Union, and last month its president Peter Kendall admitted the cull was "controversial" but added it was needed to deal with the "misery" of dealing with TB on farms.

In a letter to members, Mr Kendall wrote: "I know that many of you reading this will have suffered the misery of dealing with TB on farm - some of you for decades - and I hope now you will feel that something is finally being done to stem the cycle of infection between cattle and badgers. Badger control remains a controversial subject and we understand that some people will never agree with controlling badgers in this way. I am confident however that through the combined efforts of farmers, the NFU and government over the last year to illustrate the impact TB has on farms, and the scientific basis for badger control, more people than ever recognise the need to address the disease in badgers."

Defra insists the cull is vital for preventing the spread of bovine TB in the countryside.

© brianmay.com


**Sat 14 Sep 14**
LEAGUE VIDEOS 'TO WIN HEARTS AND MINDS'
Direct link

WESTERN MORNING NEWS
13 September 2013 by Adam Walmesley

Campaigners against the controversial killing of thousands of badgers have released new footage from the cull zone, in an effort to win the "hearts and minds" of the public. Leaders of the League Against Cruel Sports joined members of the Somerset Badger Group in the Westcountry at the weekend in a show of solidarity against the badger cull.

Footage was released by the animal welfare charity from its visit to the camp in Somerset where badger cull protesters are living.
Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "The strength of public feeling against the shooting of badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire is immense, with individuals from all walks of life coming together to voice their opposition and help look out for our black and white friends."

Around 500 people marched through Taunton on Saturday in a peaceful protest against the cull currently taking place in Somerset.

Adrian Coward, of the Somerset Badger Group, said: "We're all about trying to win hearts and minds. We know the Government won't listen to science, won't listen to political pressure, and is trying to ignore public opinion. What we're trying to do is to make them realise we're winning hearts and minds. People who really care about what is happening have got very, very angry."

The charity said it made the film to demonstrate the "overwhelming opposition" to the cull and its determination to fight the Government's "ludicrous" policy.

Mr Duckworth added: "The successful rally and on-the-ground badger groups and patrols demonstrate just how determined people are, and like us are not prepared to take this policy lying down."

An online petition started by Queen guitarist Brian May against the culls has collected around 300,000 signatures to become the most signed on the official Government website.

Mr [Dr] May said: "It remains a clear indication of the depth and continued growth of public outrage over Environment Secretary of State Owen Paterson's plan to kill thousands of badgers in the UK."

Mr Duckworth added: "The one lesson I've learned [from the cull zone trip]: these badger patrols and the other work going on in the cull zones is working. It is deterring the shooters and perhaps saving badgers' lives."

© brianmay.com


**Sat 14 Sep 13**
PARODY - WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?
Direct link

Watch out for the Queen reference:

Ylvis - The Fox Animation Parody - http://youtu.be/sBCCjhK2CAg

Thanks Lihay Kalvo

© brianmay.com


**Sat 14 Sep 13**
BEHIND THE SCENES AT SPAMALOT - WIITH BRIAN MAY
Direct link

Bri as God

Brian May 'Behind the scene of Spamalot' 9-14 Sep 2013
- SORRY VIDEO NO LONGER AVAILABLE

BRIAN MAY: I love the show. I've seen it a few times. The opportunity to play 'God' has got to be something which you can't posibly pass up, isn't it?

BRIAN: The lute's pretty... it's fun.

MEMBER OF PRODUCTION TEAM: I think it's fun. It's rather good actually.

BRIAN: It says something, doesn't it? I don't know what it says.

It's always an attraction to get on stage and try and be someone else. It's the kind of thing which we grow up with - let's pretend - and I have to say, it's stil magic to me.

GOD: Arthur! Arthur, King of the Britons!

All the money that I make will go to Save Me, the charitabe side of it, which is really only to do with rescuing wild animals. We wil have no wildlife left.

GOD Sorry. All you English people always say sorry.

It's a wonderful show. It's very much up to the minute. It doesn't date at all and I recommend everybody to see it at least five times.

© brianmay.com


**Fri 13 Sep 13**
PRESS RELEASE: VACCINATION SEMINAR
Direct link

Badger Trust logoBADGER TRUST
13 September 2013

We would like to advise you of a forthcoming seminar at ZSL London Zoo., entitled Vaccination in the control of Bovine TB. It will be held on October 3rd.

Chairing on the day will be Jon Snow and Professor David McDonald.

The one-day event, with speakers who are leading experts from academic, government and charitable organisations, will explore the principles behind vaccination and practical use in the field.

Principal topics will include:
- How vaccines work at the individual and population levels.
- Recent uses of vaccination for disease control and elimination in wild and domestic animals.
- Practical low cost deployment of injected badger vaccination.
- Development of oral badger vaccines.
- Current status and prospects for cattle vaccination against Bovine TB.
- Followed by discussion and debate with a panel drawn from the main speakers and other experts.
Programme and registration here.

Dave Williams - Chairman

© brianmay.com


**Fri 13 Sep 13**
BADGER CULL: GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO DENY MARKSMEN FAILING TO MEET TARGET
Direct link

GUARDIAN
13 Sepember 2013

A minimum of 2,081 badgers must be killed in Somerset but sources say less than 100 have been shot in two weeks

VIDEO: On the trail of the marksmen

Gordon McGlone‘s insight:
This news should not be greeted as a victory for opponents of the badger cull for two reasons.

Firstly there will be no winners from this messy politics led policy; badger culling will make bovine TB levels higher whilst at the same time confounding the beneficial effects of the full range of other tools in the Defra tool shed.

Secondly there is already pressure to either extend the pilot cull licence period and use other control measures.
This article mentions badger gassing. I well remember this from the 1980s when gassing was dropped on the grounds of the lingering inhumane deaths that badgers suffered.

This tawdry tale of politics over policy will contine for a while yet.

See on www.theguardian.com

© brianmay.com


**Fri 13 Sep 13**
DISTURBING READING FROM FARMERS GUADRIAN:
TB STRATEGY 'FUTILE WITHOUT NATIONAL BADGER CULL'
Direct link

FARMERS GUARDIAN
13 September 2013 By Alistair Driver

Farmers and vets gathered in Worcester to discuss Defra’s 25-year TB strategy. ALISTAIR DRIVER reports from a vocal meeting.

THE verdict was unequivocal and virtually unanimous when farmers and vets gathered to discuss Defra’s draft 25-year bovine TB strategy for England near Worcester last Friday. There is no point, they told Defra officials again and again, placing more cattle measures and costs onto farmers until they are able to control disease spread in wildlife on a national scale.

Gloucestershire dairy farmer Rob Harrison summed up the mood: “Badger control in endemic areas has to come first. That is absolutely the key. It will unlock the potential of the rest of the TB strategy and will make TB controls work within the UK. That is how you build trust in the farming community.”

In the third in a series of 10 regional meetings across England, about 30 ‘stakeholders’, spread over four tables, were encouraged by moderators to discuss the various elements of the draft strategy, particularly in relation to the High Risk Area (HRA) they are part of. Views were sought at the prospect of more stringent testing procedures such as compulsory post-movement testing, much greater use of the more sensitive gamma interferon blood test and banning the short-interval test as a pre-movement test. The spectre of ‘enhanced use of depopulation and controlled restocking of herds with ongoing and recurring breakdowns’ was raised.

Risk-based trading

There were mixed views on the introduction of voluntary risk-based trading, which has already been decided. Some welcomed the provision of more cattle health data for buyers and the opportunities it will provide for historically clean herds in the HRA. Other feared non-compliance from farmers.

Defra officials, while denying the strategy was driven by the need to save money, explained how the department’s animal health and welfare budget was due to be cut from £244 million to £199m in 2014/15, with further reductions to come. Farmers will therefore have to contribute more. This could be through, for example, paying more for routine TB testing, which is being tendered out to the private sector to increase competition.

Defra also wants to cut its TB compensation bill. Concern was expressed about the suggestion to link compensation to biosecurity. How would this be measured? And how could it be done fairly where wildlife is a factor in breakdowns? To formalise cost-sharing of TB policy, there will be moves, as the strategy is implemented, to encourage, or force, farmers to contribute through some sort of levy, mutual fund or voluntary subscription. Mr Harrison said a national compulsory levy on all cattle owners was the only sure-fire and practical way to raise funds. Others insisted contributions must be voluntary. Linked to this are moves, based on the New Zealand model, to establish regional farmer-led eradication boards, possibly at county level in hotspot areas, to set and deliver policy appropriate to local conditions.

While there was support for the regional committees should feed into an overarching national industry-Defra TB body, more appeared to be in favour of regional autonomy, citing, in one tongue-in cheek comment, distrust of the ‘idiots in London’. But throughout all the discussions one theme raised its head again and again, however hard the moderators tried to steer away from it - the futility of any TB strategy in the absence of credible means to protect cattle from disease spread by wildlife.

Summing up his table’s views, Shropshire vet Alistair Macpherson said: “There is broad agreement that farmers have basically had enough. They see no end to it if they can’t control badgers.

25-year plan

“A 25-year plan is way too long. We want a five-year plan and even that is too long. Our own clients will pretty much accept any measures Defra put in place if they are given a free run on the badgers. Get away from the cull pilots, just get on with it.”

South Shropshire vet Benno Veestra said tougher cattle measures will simply not work without parallel national badger controls. “Nobody is going to be willing to co-operate unless you control the wildlife reservoir. There is nothing at all in it for the farmer,” he said.

Mr Harrison added: “We have spent the last 20 or 30 years trying to address the disease in the cattle population but made hardly any progress. There is a lack of trust between farmers and Government and by starting on wildlife control and management over the next few years will give farmers more trust in Government and faith in their plans to tackle this terrible disease.”

These sentiments, echoing those voiced at previous stakeholder meetings in heavily infected areas, create a headache for Defra Secretary Owen Paterson and his department.

The draft strategy outlines plans for ‘wider roll out’ of the badger cull to up to 10 new areas from 2014, subject to successful pilots, now underway in Gloucestershire and Somerset. There is also a commitment for research into new longer-term measures to control disease in wildlife. This includes trials of different culling methods, like gassing, development of PCR technology for testing badger setts, further research on an oral badger vaccine and even injectable badger contraception.

Defra Secretary Owen Paterson has described the start of the pilot culls as a ‘turning point’ for how bTB is controlled in England and urged farmers to have faith in his plans to roll out the policy. Mr Paterson stressed 25 years was a ‘realistic’ timetable. Yet, despite his clear commitment to the policy, many farmers and vets in the HRA, in some cases their attitudes shaped by a long-standing lack of trust in any Government to act on this issue, still have no confidence the disease will ever be truly addressed in wildlife on a national scale. They fear the national roll out will take too long, particularly for areas currently at the back of the queue. In many cases, they want farmers to have a much greater say over wildlife management at local level, without the ‘onerous’ conditions attached to the pilot culls, something Defra has argued is neither politically, nor legally possible at the current time at least. “Just let us get on with it,” one farmer said.

Biosecurity

It was not all about culling. Alan Hughes, a farmer from near the Welsh border, called for greater support for initiatives like his own ‘TB Busters’ initiative, which, in conjunction with Bicton College, in Devon, and the South West TB Advisory Service, offers biosecurity advice and help to farmers to help them keep badgers away from their cattle. It is currently conducting trials on various pieces of equipment, including feed troughs, water troughs, wire fencing and mineral lick holders, to help farmers ‘badger proof’ their farms. Mr Hughes believes there is scope for some sort of assurance scheme for farmers who achive certain accredited biosecurity standards. There was also discussion around the viability of badger and cattle vaccination and badger contraception.

Summarising his tables’ views, another farmer concluded: “If you start to get on top of it in the wildlife in a science-based approach you would get the confidence of farmers on side and the rest of the industry will follow.”

Defra officials said the comments from the meeting would be made into a report and fed into the ongoing consultation on the strategy.

Those who attended in Worcester were glad to have been given the chance to air their views. “The only question now,” one told me as he left, “is whether they will take a blind bit of notice.”

TB strategy workshops

TB strategy workshops were held in Somerset, Cornwall and Worcestershire last week and East Sussex, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire this week. The last ones are scheduled for:

Norwich, Norfolk, September 16
Kendal, Cumbria, September 18
Thirsk, North Yorkshire, September 19

The consultation on the draft TB strategy for England closes on September 26. To view the document and respond see https://consult.defra.gov.uk/farming/tb/

© brianmay.com


**Fri 13 Sep 13**
FAILING BADGER CULLS COULD BE EXTENDED
Direct link

THE TIMES
13 September 2013

Badger culls could be extended if marksmen fail to kill enough animals in the planned six-week period, under a Government contingency plan to ensure the trials are completed. The possibility of prolonging the culls emerged as reports claimed that the one in Somerset had fallen behind schedule, with fewer than 100 badgers killed in the first ten days. Any extension would add to the £4 million estimated bill for policing the two culls.

Shooting began in west Somerset on August 26 and in west Gloucestershire a week later. The two pilot culls have been licensed to test whether “controlled shooting” can be carried out effectively, humanely and safely. If the trials are successful, culls are expected to be licensed in many other areas affected by bovine TB from next year.

In order to achieve their target of killing 5,000 healthy or diseased badgers in the trials, marksmen should by now have shot more than 700 badgers in Somerset alone.

Derek Mead, a farmer from Westonsuper-Mare, wrote in theWestern Morning News that he had been told that by the middle of the second week of the Somerset cull fewer than 100 badgers had been killed. The same newspaper quoted a source saying: “They are having major problems. Only three or four badgers are being shot every day. It is just a case now of who gets the blame.”

If the figures are correct, the pilot culls could fail the “effectiveness” test set by the Department for Environment, Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Defra). Companies set up to conduct the culls have been set a target of killing 70 per cent of badgers inside culling zones within six weeks. Cutting the population quickly is thought to be essential to minimise the risk of diseased animals leaving the area.

Defra is understood to have accepted that the licences might need to be extended if circumstances, such as interference by animal rights protesters, prevent marksmen from reaching the required target within six weeks.Extending the cull would mean marksmen were more likely to contend with adverse weather, but Defra believes that an extension could be preferable to failing to meet the target.

Ian Johnson, a spokesman for the National Farmers’ Union, which backs the cull, said that talk of failure was premature. “It is a pilot cull, therefore we can’t fully assess the effectiveness of it until it is completed,” he said.

The RSPCA, which opposes the cull, called on Defra to reveal the number of badgers shot. A spokeswoman said: “We would be very interested to find out but for some reason they don’t want to tell us.”

© brianmay.com


**Fri 13 Sep 13**
THE OFFICIAL SECRECY AROUND THE BADGER CULL IS ANTI-DEMOCRATIC
Direct link

THE GUARDIAN
12 September 2013 by Patrick Barkham

Defra and Natural England monitors are silent about the culling – so how can we be sure it is being carried out properly?

Link to video:
Badger cull in Somerset: on the trail of the marksmen

I was pulled over by police twice in the space of 20 minutes last week for being "intimidating". The second time officers said they had received a call from a member of the public who felt harassed by me. This member of the public was a large bloke driving a pick-up truck which was almost certainly laden with a high-calibre rifle. I was in a people carrier, armed only with a torch. He was enjoying an evening of paid employment killing badgers. I was enjoying an evening of paid employment seeking to discover a few details about the offensively secretive badger cull currently unfolding in the English countryside.

In an incident entirely typical of this cull, the gunman was helped to do his job by the police, who conveniently prevented me from doing mine. On both occasions, officers held me for far longer than it was necessary, to establish I was not breaking any law. This delay enabled the badger cullers to drive away into the darkness and continue their work without having to suffer the terror of a journalist politely stammering, "Excuse me sir, how is the badger cull going?"

We are being kept in the dark over the badger cull, an important and expensive policy which is designed to reduce bovine TB in cattle. There are rational arguments that can be made in favour of this slaughter of 5,000 badgers, but the secrecy with which it is being conducted is suspicious and scandalous. Defra won't release any details about how it is being carried out. When they are forced to by freedom of information requests, it is so heavily redacted it is meaningless. The National Farmers Union won't answer questions about the cull; neither will Natural England nor the expert independent monitors – respected academics tasked with assessing the efficacy, safety and humaneness of it.

It is impossible to shine any light on the cull, in west Somerset at least. I've visited for five days and long nights in the last two months and the marksmen won't talk about it, the farmers won't talk about it, and when you ask local people, anyone who supports it behaves with the kind of bashfulness last seen in the late 1990s, when it was shameful to publicly admit to voting Conservative. Even the landscape is secretive: vast tracts of crown land and hidden valleys with nothing but a dead end road and lonely farmhouse, with a tractor and trailer pulled across the farmyard for protection.

I understand why some farmers have good reason not to talk about the cull. I met a farmer's wife whose eyes filled with tears as she described months blighted by threatening phone calls from anti-cull activists. I spoke to a farmer who received three arson attacks soon after publicly declaring his support for the cull. Farmers have families and often live in isolated spots where they feel particularly vulnerable. These fears have to be respected.

But farmers in the cull zone are doing themselves a huge disservice with their silence. Country dwellers complain how city types are utterly ignorant of their way of life, but without farmers' voices it is impossible for the public to understand their point of view – and the valid, persuasive reasons they may have for supporting a cull.

It is a shame that they feel scared because I have also met many of the anti-cull activists and found them to be the gentlest people you could encounter on a dark night in the countryside. The scariest one is a skinny 6ft 4ins vegan with a rape alarm which is set off in the middle of empty fields in the vain hope of scaring distant badgers away from harm. A man carrying a gun who knows how to shoot it and is kitted out with infrared night-vision appears far more of a threat.

At this stage of the cull, the people who really should be speaking, however, are the Defra and Natural England monitors. This is supposedly a pilot cull but we do not have any information about how many badgers have been killed so far, how many have been injured, how the marksmen are ensuring clean kills, who is checking the badger body bags, how fiddling the figures or fraud will be prevented, whether there have been incidences of "unofficial" culling, and many other important details. With no clue about the monitors' way of working, how can we be sure they are doing these proper checks?

I hate secrecy; everyone in a democracy should. People misbehave when they know they are free to act without scrutiny. The main reason for it in this situation is simple: the cullers know only too well that no amount of reassuring information about the cull's efficiency, humaneness or safety can disguise the fact that badgers are being shot dead and most of the country finds this distressing and would like it to stop. The only thing that was not secretive in paranoid Somerset last week was Britain's most elusive mammal. I saw five badgers roaming the countryside after dark: more than any monitors or marksmen. If they are to survive, they'll have to learn their opponents' habit of secrecy, and fast.

© brianmay.com


**Fri 13 Sep 13**
BADGER CULL HUMANENESS DISCUSSED ON BBC RADIO GLOS 11/9
Direct link

Badger Cull Humaneness? Mark Jones Executive Director of The Humane Society
discussing DEFRA's failure to provide assessment criteria documentation
- with Steve Kitchen BBC R.Glos 11/92013/ 5pm
-

© brianmay.com


**Wed 11 Sep 13*
BRIAN ON "MADE IN HEAVEN 2"? - FULL TRANSCRIPT
BRIAN & ANITA WITH iHEART RADIO AT FFAD
Direct link

Interview at One Mayfair - Fredie For A Day 2013 event:

KEVIN HUGHES (iHEART RADIO): Brian - a very special night - Freddie's birthday - a big fund raising night - how are you feeling?

BRIAN MAY: Indeed. i - I feel good, yeah. You know it's always mixed feelings, you know, but celebrating Freddie's birthday is fine with me and I'm sure it's something he would be happy with you know, and it makes a great difference for the AIDS cause, doing it as well. We make tons of money, which helps people all around the world with AIDS. And yeah, it's good…. it generally goes very well, doesn't it. I think it's the third one we've had and, yeah, generally a very good feeling and it's great that people volunteer their services - Roger Daltrey doing it this year, and Tom from Keane, you know, and Mel C, so it's great. It's actually growing, I think, which is nice.

KEVIN: So many friends in the room as well, Anita, which must make it extra special.

ANITA DOBSON: It does and great to see how people have spent such time in their clothes. I mean, they look FANTASTIC!! Fred would have loved it. He would have loved it - and it's great that every year we celebrate that he was a wonderful human being and a great singer.

KEVIN: Do you love seeing the pictures around the world, Brian, of Freddie For A Day?

BRIAN: Yeah, it's nice fun, I think. It's a focus for the fans, you know. It's nice. I think we'd all love to be Queen, but you can't really do it (laughs) without Freddie, you know, so it's nice to do these kind of occasions, and you know I think it's a good feeling all round.

KEVIN: I know you've been a very busy man in the studio of late and the fans are very excited about what might be coming at the end of this year. What are you allowed to tell us, Brian?

BRIAN: Queenwise - well you know the funny thing is we did the Made In Heaven album and we thought we'd exhausted everything that was around that could be worked on, but since then a number of things have come to light from various sources that we just plain forgotten about, including the stuff with Freddie and Michael Jackson, and there's quite a few other things. so finally, just a couple of weeks ago, we thought, "Hmm, maybe we shouldn't be just doing odd bits and pieces. Maybe we should be heading towards an album." So it just might be. I don't want to say more definitely than that, but you know, we're sort of thinking Made In Heaven 2 in a sense, although it wouldn't be called that. But there is a lot. It's surprising how much has come to light and it gives you a chance to go back in there, you know, open the box again, and some of the magic may come out.

KEVIN: Exactly. We're all excited. You've spoken as well about the Michael Jackson record. It is coming, is that right? What can you tell us about the release? …

BRIAN: It all sounds great. The Michael Jackson stuff is complicated. I don't wanna say too much about it, but obviously we have to deal with Michael's estate as well as Freddie's estate, you know. We don't know when we'll get permission to put that stuff out. It needs everybody's permission before it can go.

KEVIN (indistinct) … voices on one record.

BRIAN: Yeah, it's nice. There's two, both really nice, and there might possibly be another one. S'funny how these things come, you know. You think "Oh no, there's nothing more" and then "Oh no, what's that then?", you know. And there's a track, well I don't wanna say too much, you know. A couple of things have come to light. There's something I've been working on last couple of weeks which I'm very excited about and I don't think anybody out there will remember this track. It was done in a completely sort of offshore kind of way and so we're doing it in a very different kind of way from the way it was put out at the time. So yeah - lots of good stuff. (laughs)

KEVIN: Good to see you, Brian. There was one news question, which is are you still loving the reaction to the campaign for the badger culling. Are you any update on where you are at…

BRIAN: Ah.. well. I love the reaction, yes, but it's a very very awful, tragic time, because you're not seeing it in the papers really - it's not really being reported. I don't know. You know I'm very aware that the papers and the media in general are very much gagged by the Government. I mean we're in a terrible situation and the Government are trying to bring more laws in to stop protesting and to stop, you know, free speech, and it's a very serious situation. So what's happening in the country is a blood bath. It's just too awful to go into details about. You know the badgers are suffering terribly. There are a lot of great people out there, totally peaceful, in a sense, making their point of view known, but also rescuing some of the wounded badgers that run away. It's a disaster. It is such a tragic disaster and it has to be stopped.

KEVIN: Anita, you're looking fabulous.

ANITA DOBSON: Thank you very much. Not bad for an old 'un. (laughs)

KEVIN: Whatever…… (laughter) Go on, it can be a bitter sweet night but I wish you both a very exciting … and obviously raise lots of money tonight.

ANITA: Thank you very much.

KEVIN: Thank you.

BRIAN: Thank you very much. Nice talking to you.

KEVIN: Thank you.

BRIAN MAY; Say "Hi" to Heart.

Brian and Anita were interviewed by Kevin Hughes of iHeart Radio.

Brian May & Anita Dobson talk to Kevin Hughes iHeart 5 Sept 2013 - Made In Heaven 2?
- http://youtu.be/aZZ8_mfglH4

© brianmay.com


**Wed 11 Sep 13**
QUEEN GUITARIST BRIAN MAY 'FACED DEATH' AT GLOUCESTERSHIRE BADGER CULL
Direct link

CHECKOUT SOAPBOX + here, here and here

The Citizen
11 September 2013

Queen guitarist Brian May has written about how he came 'close to death' while supporting badger cull protesters in Gloucestershire.
Writing on his Soapbox page and here, here, here - Dr May describes the trial badger cull as 'insane.'

Brian in hi vis vest with protesters in Gloucestershire
?
Brian May with anti-cull protesters in Gloucestershire

Yesterday Defra insisted the trail cull was necessary and wasn't designed to 'wipe out badgers' saying if we don't act now to stop the spread of bovine TB, the consequences for farming would be devestating.

© brianmay.com


**Wed 11 Sep 13**
BEING GOD: YOU CAN'T BEAT IT
Direct link

Brian May was the latest celebrity to make a guest apearance in West End show Spamalot, at the Playhouse Theatre in which he played God. The rock star and badger enthusiast was delighted to be asked.

"The opportunity to play God has got to be something that you can't possiby pass up. I really, really didn't want to stop," he said. "Once you've played God, nothing else will match up to that experience and I can quite understand what's happened to David Cameron."

Brian May at Spamalot
The I - 11 Sept 2013

© brianmay.com


**Wed 11 Sep 13**
EVEN MORE SPAMALOT
Direct link

Go see Spamalot at The Playhouse, West End, London - Brian is 'God' on screen for the week from Mon 9/9. Fabulously, hilariously funny. Best laugh in years. TICKET LINK

Les Dennis, Brian May and Anoushka Eaton
Les Dennis, Brian May & Anouska Eaton, Mon 9 Sept 2013

Les Dennis tweeted:
@dennis_les Honoured to have shared the stage with Rock God @DrBrianMay and Lady Of The Lake Anushka Eaton.

Thank you Les and cast - you were wonderful.

© brianmay.com


**Wed 11 Sep 13**
BRIAN MAY & KERRY ELLIS - HOPE 4 APES
Direct link

Brian and Kerry were in the studio yesterday, rehearsing for Hope for Apes event.

Kerry tweeted: "This is where I will be performing on the 27th http://www.4apes.com/hope."

ß




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