brian's soapbox
DECEMBER 2013

EXPERT OPINION - LETTERS

 

As always, the opinions expressed in these pages are purely and personally those of myself, Brian; they are not the official views of Queen, or of any other organisation or individual.

Reference:
- Lame Claims
- Stereo and Freeview Notes

 

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Cheers ! Bri
- ALSO APPLIES TO FOREIGN SITES AND TWITTER


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**Thu 12 Dec 13*
HERSCHEL MUSEUM - AND CATCH-UP
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Herschel Museum - I'm honoured and happy to take over as Patron.

QUEEN meeting for us tomorrow. Some nice decisions to make. What does it mean to BE Queen ?

Tony Iommi at the O2
Black Sabbath rock the O2 yesterday. Tony Iommi on blistering form.

Bri

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**Thu 12 Dec 13**
BADGERS TODAY IN PARLIAMENT
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Today was another important chapter in the awful story of the Badger Wars.

The last two days were hectic and tense for us, as information unfolded about who would be able speak at the debate on the future of the badger cull today, and work was done on what points could be made. We and the other Team Badger folks were in conference with the MPs who were leading the debate from our side. I was able to speak briefly at our Briefing Meeting yesterday in a small room in the building that houses the Commons.

But today, we were in a much bigger room, though not nearly so grand as the House Of Commons itself - known as Westminster Hall, where debates are held on the basis of information and discussion, and, of course, I and my colleagues were now merely spectators, watching the MPs slug it out from the public chairs at the end of the room, opposite the chairman. Of course, it's frustrating not being able to speak, when preposterous statements are being made, but [is] this democracy ! The style of these debates is very similar to debates in the House, with the same conventions and rules, and with the same kind of interventions, the only difference really being there is no vote at the end. It's a way of sharing information, raising concerns, and putting comments on the historical record; all these discussions are transcribed and go into the archives of Hansard, and there they reside forever.

This was the scene just before the first words were spoken. It's not quite as peaceful as this picture might suggest - MPs and others are constantly bustling in and out, getting to their feet, grumbling, rudely interjecting, and this was a particularly noisy debate, very well-attended, with passions running high.

WESTMINSTER HALL

Well, you can watch the TV coverage at [VIDEO HERE - and see below - as TEXT HERE] if you're interested, on the Internet, and there are some very interesting moments. You will see that much of the quality of the content of many of the speakers is quite poor, and their delivery is not always coherent. Some of them seem to be simply wasting time, and some are plainly bent on making trouble, without much reference to relevance or truth. A lot of the time it's depressing, hearing the same old bits of dogma being trotted out. But some of the speeches this time around were well-informed, and there was some genuine interaction.

The mood of the debate was dominated, this time, by dissatisfaction with Owen Paterson's dismally failed pilot culls, and it's very significant that the dissatisfaction was this time voiced by MPs of all colours - notably in the Tory ranks. This is a vital element in the campaign to move TB control away from ineffective and inhumane culling and into policies with real hopes of success … vaccination of badgers AND cattle. These matters ought to be above party politics - they are matters connected with the very core of our beliefs as human animals, living in a world populated by many other species of animal, all of whom have a right to a decent existence. So for us, this was an important moment, giving us hope that sanity and decency will triumph in the end. It's a bit like the Ghurka thing which Joanna Lumley fought so successfully. She told me that one thing made the fight much easier … knowing that you were in the right. We are spurred on by that same conviction.

It's difficult to single out individual contributions here, but the most compelling moments were when MPs were genuinely reacting to what was going on around them, rather than just reading their notes. Anne Main (Conservative) was a stand-out contributor, speaking passionately about the fact that she had abstained on the last vote on the pilot culls, but now, having researched and discovered the truth about the factors involved in the spread of TB, she was now convinced that the culls must be abandoned, in favour of vaccination. She is not alone - there is a perceptible shift in the wind, and as disillusionment grows, we must be nearing a moment when it will become intolerably embarrassing for David Cameron to push on into more rebellion in Parliament, more resentment from an appalled Scientific Community, and disenchantment from a horrified Public - the voters who ultimately get to decide whose hands the future will rest in.

The debate was at times unruly, but this is an indication of the amount of rumblings that are now evident everywhere on this subject. Overwhelmingly, the majority of this gathering called for the matter of the 'roll-out' of the culling policy next year to be brought back into the House for a full debate, with a vote to establish whether the country is behind the government in the continuation of this troubled policy, or not.

The sourest note was an attempt at a summing up for the Government by George Eustice, which amounted to no more than a reading of cut-and-pasted official lines from the standard DEFRA propaganda. There was not one attempt to answer any of the tabled questions by this man; by his indifference, he insulted the entire assembled company. The arrogance of the ministers of this administration is almost unbelievable. This man, who has only been in office for a month or two, clearly listened to nothing that was said, and missed an opportunity to show that he actually does understand the issues and has the ability to justify the position which he is now charged with defending. It was a thoroughly ignominious contribution, and a depressing way to end the day.

But in the fullness of time, there is an inevitability to all this.

We thank all who took part, and we're hopeful that this has moved everyone on to a better place. The badger cull is a shamefullmess and a tragedy -

- ethically a crime,
- practically ineffective and even counterproductive,
- unsupported by science and regarded with contempt by scientists,
- economically a deepening disaster,
- and viewed with more and more disgust by a public who on the whole actually DO care about animals - thank God.

Brian

PS PART 1 and PART 2



House of Commons_Westminster Hall_Future of the... by TillyFlop

House of Commons_Westminster Hall_Future of the badger cull in England 11 Dec 13 part 1


House of Commons_Westminster Hall_Future of the... by TillyFlop

House of Commons_Westminster Hall_Future of the badger cull in England 11 Dec 13 part 2

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**Tue 10 Dec 13**
BRIEFING MEETING
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Peter Egan, Brian May, Angela Smith, Mark The Vet
Peter Egan, Brian May, Angela Smith and Mark The Vet

Great briefing meeting this morning at House of Commons. Thanks Angela Smith, Peter Egan and Mark The Vet.

Peter Egan, Angela Smith, Mark The Vet
Peter Egan, Angela Smith and Mark The Vet

A working morning ! Preparing for badger cull debate tomorrow.

Tell your MP to be there !

Bri

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**Mon 09 Dec 13**
WEDNESDAY DEBATE DAY
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We have a pre-debate meeting tomorrow [Tuesday] in the Commons building. Wednesday is debate day, on the future of the badger cull. There is no vote. This debate is in Westminster Hall - not on the floor of the House. These debates are less formal - the idea being to inform.

We start in the Houses of Parliament at 8.30 am. Ouch.

We'll take this guy in with us tomorrow to the House of Commons. Ha ha

Tank Badger

Bri

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**Tue 09 Dec 13**
DEAR PATRICK - BEEN A YEAR
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Dear Patrick

It's been a year.

But your presence is still mighty strong.

We all miss you, Old Chap. Hope you are happy amongst the stars.

Bri

Patrick and Brian - Annular Eclipse 2003 by Bobby Nelson
Patrick and Brian - Annular Eclipse 2003 by Bobby Nelson

PS: The BBC are proposing to bring Sky at Night back but with a new look, I understand, with a new producer.

Bri

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**Sat 07 Dec 13**
TORYGRAPH
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… another disgraceful piece of Government propaganda in the Telegraph.

TELEGRAPH: The badger cull that died a death
6 December 2013
The West Country scheme to reduce the number of the creatures, responsible for the spread of bovine TB, quickly became a battleground

Why let Truth get in the way ?!

Bri

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**Fri 06 Dec 13**
GASSING, SNARING OF BADGERS TO COME
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Gassing, snaring of badgers to come. So we are humane are we?

FARMERS GUARDIAN: Kendall urges farmers to 'make the most' of badger cull opportunity
6 December 2013 | By Alistair Driver

Peter Kendall is going all the way to Hell on this.

Bri

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**Fri 06 Dec 13**
THE CONCERT HALL IN THE CASINO
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It used to look like this, with all our gear set up to record.

Jazz Inner Sleeve Casino Concert Hall

This week it looked like this …

Casino 2013

Well, I guess it always was a Casino ! But now it's big time gambling. And in small corner … the remains of a music studio, and lots of ….

Memorabilia (mostly mine !)

Brian at Queen Studio Experience Exhibition

cheers

Bri

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Thu 05 Dec 13**
PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR MP - QUICK
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Please write to your MP - QUICK - and ask him to attend the Westminster Hall debate on the future of Badger Cull on Wednesday 11th December.

Bri

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**Thu 05 Dec 13**
VERY SAD TO HEAR OF MADIBA'S PASSING
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Very sad to hear of Madiba's passing.

We (Queen, along with Dave Stewart, and the Corrs) were privileged to spend some days and nights with him at his game park retreat, while we were organising the first 46664 concert for AIDS at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. They were life-changing days, with quiet time and talks around a camp fire at night, which we will remember til we die. Mandela was the most inspiring man of his generation. His message, by example, was the power of forgiveness. He showed us that it's possible to act after great injustice with no thought of revenge. He was light, funny, enormously generous, and, quietly, the greatest example to the world that a man can be.

RIP dear Madiba.

Brian May

Queen 46664 The Call Live - http://youtu.be/Um09y4Wn1LE

46664 - My tribute to Nelson Mandela live at Green Point Stadium Cape Town Nov 2003. We spent months in Cape Town at that time planning the concert with Mr Mandela and recording songs including this one.

Farewell Madiba A sad loss to the world, but leaves the greatest legacy - Forgiveness. The great Nelson Mandela RIP

Bri


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**Thu 05 Dec 13**
MY INTRODUCTION - QUEEN STUDIO EXPERIENCE
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Here's the piece I wrote for the brochure, for the new Queen Studio Experience, in the Casino on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.


Welcome to beautiful Montreux ! Freddie, Roger, John and myself spent countless hours here, staying in various lodgings, including Chalets in Blonay, apartments in Montreux and beside the lake, and hotels, including the Eden au Lac and the splendid Montreux Palace. We walked the streets, swam in the lake, (and sometimes attempted to water-ski on it) ate and drank to quite a high standard, drove around the mountains, and breathed the good air of this usually sleepy little town.

But most of the time, we ate, drank, discussed, argued, planned, and - yes - played our instruments - in one building, Mountain Studios, part of the Montreux Casino complex. We spent so much time here that we began to feel like residents, and indeed Freddie eventually bought himself a beautiful flat bordering the lake, where he was able to spend some peaceful hours towards the end of his life, away from the prying eyes of the Media.

Montreux Studios was an absolutely state-of-the-art recording facility in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s; equipped with acoustically well-designed tracking and control rooms, a massive Neve desk with flying faders, and world-class engineer in David Richards, the facility already had a fine reputation when we, as Queen first worked there in 19 …., working on our 'Jazz' album, and the 'Live Killers' CD. Although it was quite possible to record all instruments in the st'udio itself, we often used the much larger area of the Casino auditorium to set up our gear, so we could play in an environment which was close to a concert situation, at full volume, interactively, 'as live'. The large volume of this massive room also enabled David Richards to record us (especially the Drums) with the right kind of natural ambience, to make the performance sound huge. On the inner spread of the 'gatefold' album sleeve for the Jazz album, you can see us in this set-up. You can hear the effect very clearly on the "Innuendo" track, in which that huge sound is all real and 'live'. The basic sound was in those live recorded backing tracks.

Many of the subsequent overdubs and other works on the tracks were done in the control room, and it is this room which we have carefully reconstructed for the 'Queen Studio Experience'. In those days, all the recorded information from each instrument, and every vocal, was stored on tape … initially on 2-inch tape, on those huge 24 track analogue tape machines, and later on 24 track digital 'Dash' machines. For many of our escapes, 24 tracks were not nearly enough to store all the overdubs we needed, so the ability to 'lock' two digital machines together was very useful. Groups of overdubs - for instance, choral vocal harmonies, could be 'bounced' down together to a stereo submix, and off-loaded on to a 'slave' reel of tape, making room for the next overdubs, or separate subsections of overdubs could be kept on separate slave reels. So on a typical day in the studio the air would be filled with music, the whirring of tape machines and cigarette smoke. In the QSE, weve reproduced it all for your enjoyment, apart from the smoke !

The QSE gives you a chance not only to absorb the atmosphere of this great place of creativity, but to create your own mix from a Queen Multitrack tape. Enjoy !

Brian



Brian

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**Thu 05 Dec 13**
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY - STAR WARS EDITION
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Fabulous !! Thanks Joel.

I enjoyed this hugely. I love the jump to Light Speed, and props and scenery are amazing.

And … " Matters nothing really to me !!! " Brilliant !

Bri

Bohemian Rhapsody: Star Wars Edition - http://youtu.be/oi7KPDi_yQI

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**Wed 04 Dec 13**
RETURN TO SWISS TIMES
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Well, the opening of the Queen Studio Experience in Montreux went well, I think. I just got home, and although I had a great walk around the town this morning (3 December), I kinda wish I'd been able to stay longer. I lurch from emotion to emotion in Montreux these days. Maybe I always did … the beauty and freshness of the surroundings seem to bring things to the surface … I could hear Freddie singing "A Winters Tale" in my head as I strolled in the crisp air under a blue sky. And I remember how I carried a recipe in my head for many months as to how to bring the track to fruition, Freddie having left us such a wonderful frame to build around. I could hear the solo in my head long before I finally got to play it back in the UK in my own studio, and I remember feeling that I could close my eyes at that moment and be back in Mountain Studios with Freddie, in his element, relaxed, living in the moment, creating.

So, visiting this time, it was very moving to walk back into the studio, and find it looking, miraculously very much like the way it looked when we all bowled in there on a typical day, to work on new Queen material. It's worth a visit, I think. A lot of work went into creating the 'Queen Studio Experience", and from what I heard while we were there, people are having fun in there. You can remix a Queen track in that studio, where it was created, or you can hear a track in top level 5.1 surround, or you can watch a great film - specially made for the exhibition by Rhys Thomas and Simon Lupton. Justin Shirley-Smith and co have made a fabulous replica of the original giant Neve desk that used to live there. And many of our instruments and acoutrements are there … along with a ton of memorabilia - most of it from my own collection ! I wrote an introduction … maybe we can reproduce it here. But when you're there, you will see Roger and myself introduce the tracks.

OK … I'll offer some stereo pics. And don't forget, if you want tips on how to view in 3-D - press here !!! [Always at TOP LEFT of Soapbox pages.]

Stereo photos can give you unusual perspectives … try these …

Freddie in Christmas Market
Freddie backed by the Christmas Market. You can almost smell the Glüwein from here !!

Dents du midi
The lake at sunrise. Lake Geneva viewed from the Montreux Palace

Freddie Statue

Freddie statue close-up

Freddie silhouette

All photos c. Brian May.

Wondering what those things are, floating on the water ? They're solar powered stars, which glow at night, making the scene quite magical.

Bri

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**Wed 04 Dec 13**
WHO IS THIS GIRL?
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Much as I disapprove of this kind of thing (!) I gotta say whoever did this deserves praise.

Elle Liberachi

Bri

To find out who she is and why 'wearing' a Red Special - head over to news item HERE:

http://brianmay.com/brian/briannews/briannewsdec13a.html#03

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**Tue 03 Dec 13**
MONTREUX
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Queen meeting in Montreux. We discussed touring ! Can't tell you what the outcome of this conversation was. But well, interesting !

Viva Freddie
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Viva Freddie !

Yep. I know. I'm bad. But I promise as soon as there is definite news, you will have it. When Queen calls, it's hard to hang up.

Thanks to all you folks who came down to Montreux to see the opening of the Queen Studio Experience. Hope it was a GOOD experience ?

Bri

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**Mon 02 Dec 13**
RETURN TO MONTREUX
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Montreux Sunset by Bri
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Return to Montreux: Heavenly place - though it can play Hell with your emotions. Well, my emotions I guess.

Brian and the Argentinian boys
Look ! Kerry. Our Argentinian Boys ! Making trouble In Montreux.

Bri

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**Mon 02 Dec 13**
MOVING THE GOALPOSTS - FUEL POVERTY
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Familiar ? Moving the goalposts is one thing. But denying you have is called LYING. Why do we stand for it ?

Bri

Independent newspaper

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**Mon 02 Dec 13**
TURKEY FREE CHRISTMAS FOR ME
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Save a turkey this Christmas. By not eating it ! Who needs a grossly fattened tortured bird for dinner ? Roast veg is totally sayisfying.

Yep - it's a Turkey Free Christmas for me - it feels so much better. Make that a Cruelty Free Christmas. Caremelised carrots, cauliflower, sweet corn - yum yum !!! Who the hell needs a totured dead bird ?

If everyone just ate LESS meat, benefit to the planet would be enormous. Not to mention health benefits, cruelty

--

I'm headed for the snows of Switzerland. Oh b*gger - better pack ...

Take care all

Bri

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**Sun 01 Dec 13**
ELLIS & MAY CANDLELIGHT CONCERTS - RUSSIA !!
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Hey - you good folks out there in Russia !!

Well, this might be a bit premature of me … but it looks like Ellis and May will be staging some Candlelight Concerts in Russia.

We're looking at probably three dates … watch this space !

This was an early draft of a poster … what do you think ?

Bri and Kerry Russia
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Na Zdorovie !!!

Cheers

Bri

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**Sun 01 Dec 13**
THE SHAME
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Well, that's a bit of a fantasy, sadly. It wasn't me who stopped the pilot cull. And this is not the end of the war. As usual, the badger killers were defeated mainly by their own incompetence and the basic daftness of the scheme itself. As we predicted, NFU are already trying to tell us this appalling shambles of a barbaric bloodbath was a success !

Thanks to Pat Williams, The Badger Trust. This expresses my anger and sadness at the senseless persecution of badgers.

The Shame

 

Bri

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**Sun 01 Dec 13**
LET'S HEAR IT FOR PAUL !
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Paul O'Grady

Bri

See FULL ARTICLE MIRROR.CO.UK 'I want to see David Cameron's head on a spike': Paul O'Grady on the Coalition, Jimmy Savile and the demise of the NHS

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