brian's soapbox
     
JULY 2009

© brianmay.com

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:
STEREO AND FREEVIEW NOTES

Welcome to
BRI'S SOAPBOX

COPYRIGHT NOTE:
Please DON'T reproduce stuff from these pages without permission. And if you do, please give us credit (brianmaycom)!! and a LIVE link. Cheers ! Bri


1 | 2

**Wed 15 Jul 09**
FOX CUB RESCUE

I thought you might like to see a few progress pics of our young 'family'. These were taken today by Anne Brummer, our rescue lady extraordinaire.

All three cubs are doing well - two boys and a girl ... their names are underneath their pics. They get a lot of room service ... better than some hotels I've been in !! ha ha.

I'm thrilled to report we've already had some offers of support from you great people out there ... thanks so much. Maybe the human race isn't ALL bad ... !

cheers !
Dr. Bri

Fox enclosure
Enclosure
Alisha
Alisha
Archie and Sebastian
Archie and Sebastian

Alisha
Alisha
Alisha

Archie
Archie
Photos by Anne Brummer 2009

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Wed 15 Jul 09**
NEW FRIENDS - NATIVE ANIMALS IN DISTRESS

Brian and Sebastian
Click image for larger

I do a lot of talking about the plight of animals ... the creatures who, alongside us, share this planet. It's my opinion that we have a totally ridiculous idea of how important we are, and that we, as a race, behave despicably to our fellow beasts. To me, we humans are the pitiless, senseless vandals of this world, and it seems to be down to a few thinking, caring people to try to limit the damage done by the mindless majority.

This week, I met someone who does a wonderful job, with a tiny amount of support, a wonderful job of saving and caring for countless animals whose lives we humans have wrecked.

This lady is Anne Brummer, and her brilliant organisation is called Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue.

I've pledged my support, and, by erecting a sanctuary on private land for animals in need of rehabilitation, I'm hoping to help extend her great work. All my people, who work for me and with me, at Duck, are backing the project. Our first tenants are three adorable fox cubs, all orphaned too young by the works of Man. The little chap above is Sebastian, and he's been reared from a baby, by bottle at first, having lost his mother soon after his birth. He needs to learn how to defend himself and find food, and 'be a fox'. The techniques of care and 'soft release' practised by Anne and her colleagues will give him a good chance to grow up strong and have a good life.

If anyone want to help these wonderful people in their labour of love, we will supply contact details on request.

Meanwhile ... Sebastian is busy learning what is around him, before he leaps into a new world.

Sebastian and Brian
Click image for larger

Cheers
Bri

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Wed 15 Jul 09**
HAMMERSMITH
75

[See LETTERS]

We will do our best to restore the whole thing as far as we can. The project will probably be in two stages .. assembly of part of the concert for a TV program, and then, probably a few months later, or so, a DVD of the whole show.

Cheers
Bri

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Tue 14 Jul 09**
DIGITALLY REMASTERED?

Well, here is a very succinct answer to the question [see LETTERS] about the meaning of "Digitally Remastered", from Justin Shirley-Smith. Thanks Justin.

Dear Dean

The word "Remastered" means that the audio quality, the dynamics (the difference between loud and quiet parts), the volume and the EQ (treble and bass etc) have all been re-assessed and re-adjusted as desired by a Mastering Engineer.

The word "Remastered" does not apply to the music, performance or mix - it applies only to the sound.

If something has been "Digitally Remastered" - it means the audio has been remastered using digital audio technology - either in the actual recording (storage) of the sound or in the processing as listed above - or both.

I can not see "Digitally Remastered" written in connection with the current releases of vinyl LPs on the QOL store anywhere I've looked - and I would not expect to. If you let me know exactly where it says this I will look into it.

Best wishes
Justin

Cheers
Brian

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Tue 14 Jul 09**
NOCTILUCENT CLOUD (NLC) STEREO

This might be the first NLC stereo in the world ... who knows ...

I put two photographs together for this stereo, taken a few minutes apart, by my great friend Jamie Cooper. Click here to visit his gallery of beautiful pictures of this phenomenon, visible from the British Isles at the moment.

'Elephant' NLC

This stereo clearly shows the 'normal' terrestrial clouds in the foreground, in a layer stretching out towards us ... and behind them, in a completely different plane, the magnificent "Noctilucent" clouds ... which are reckoned to be at least 50 miles above us. NLC's are not usually so prevalent, especially in these latitudes. The usual explanation is that they are caused by extremely high layers of ice crystals. Jamie thinks they may be connected with the recent volcanic eruptions in Russia, throwing debris into the upper atmosphere.

For the technically inquisitive: this is not a case of using a true extended stereo baseline. The parallax in the 'normal' clouds is due to their movement from left to right between the two exposures, and so is really a 'false perspective'. The NLC's were moving much more slowly, and in the other direction, so they appear 'flat', and a long way away. But, in this case, the illusion is close to the reality.

But how did that elephant get up there?

Cheers
Bri

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Sat 10 Jul 09**
A VILLAGE LOST, AND ABOUT TO BE FOUND

Our captions for the Book Business Cognoscenti group picture at the Dominion last week are now ready ... see the picture, some way below, which is now annotated!

Bri and Elena Vidal with Fraances Lincoln reps and retailers
Key = FL = Frances Lincoln  Missing: Robin Rees, our producer.

Cheers !

It was not an event attended by thousands, or even hundreds. But for me it was a milestone. It was the first time our book "A Village Lost and Found" has appeared anywhere outside our small circle of authors and publishers. This book has been my consuming passion for at least the last year, and is the reason I have been so quiet for so long. It's been in preparation for about 2 years, and the research it contains stretches back more than 30 years, to the days when I first became fascinated with a mysterious 1850s stereo photographer T. R. Williams. He doesn't feature much in the Histories of Photography currently on sale, but the more I uncovered of his work, the more convinced I became that he was one of the most important artist photographers the world has seen. It was a long journey, and on the way, by sheer dogged determination (the kind of thing I'm good at!) and through the kindness of some collector friends ... I collected, for the first time ever, a complete set of images, and verses from T. R. Williams's greatest labour of love ... "Scenes in Our Village". To see this book nearly ready to go on sale (October is the planned release date) is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me. And that is saying something!

And so it was that on Tuesday last, Elena Vidal, my esteemed co-author and I threw a very small party for the creme de la creme of the Book Retailing World, and our reps, from Frances Lincoln, publishers, who will carry the tome forth into the world, in October, when all is ready. It took place in the Judy Garland Suite in our second home, the Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road, London. Our patent stereoscopes are not yet ready to emerge from the moulders, so we had a few cardboard replicas ready, to demonstrate the principle to our guests. For this is a 3-D book, and one the like of which really has not been seen on the last 150 years since stereo photography was invented. The fully focussing cardboard viewers will not have the long life of the polypropylene instruments which we will pack in the back of the book slipcase, but their optical performance is equally good.

We had the satisfaction of hearing lots of "Wow!"s and "Good Lord"s – which proves to us that all the work was worth it. We had comments like "It's so completely real" ... and .. "I feel like I can walk in there - I never experienced this before". The place we invite you to walk into is an idyllic tiny village, around 1850, populated with all its fascinating inhabitants. The 3-D pictures, coupled with their dedicated verses, one for every view, allow us to share their lives, their dreams, their bond with Nature, God, and Life and Death. Forget 3-D Jaws!!! This is the real stereo experience! And ... well ... I think I will soon begin to tell the story properly ... and recount some of the unique journey we've been on to create this first-ever complete annotated collection of "Scenes in Our Village".

It is, really, a doorway, into a quieter, more thoughtful world ... a world which was NEARLY ..... lost.

A Village Lost and Found!

Display table

Our display tables, complete with interim cardboard stereoscopes, ready for the view. In stereo, of course. Oh ! A copy of the paperback version of BANG! seems to have snuck in ! More about that soon too.

More tables - John Sims page

More tables - that's the John Sims page in the middle there ... (see SIOV 8 in the SIOV section of our LondonStereo.com website - it's here ....
http://www.londonstereo.com/trwilliams/siov_detail_08.html

And below ... some of the cognoscenti ... a rare meeting of minds from the book world. I'll follow with a key to names tomorrow, but that's your pal Dr. Bri, and Elena Vidal, in the middle. [Picture moved to above]

Bri

MORE INFO AND PHOTOS HERE ON LONDONSTEREO SITE

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Mon 06 Jul 09**
BRI AND ANITA RELAXED

Brian and Anita, Birmingham WWRY

An unguarded moment, captured by ... someone .... me and my lady chatting to guitarist Simon Croft, backstage after the Birmingham Gala night. Well, it proves that I was still standing, at least!

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Mon 06 Jul 09**
HELP!!!

OK! Detectives! If you want to help us put together the best possible DVD of the QUEEN Christmas Eve Hammersmith concert in 1975 ...

Please have a look around for this ...

What we do not have right now is any visuals whatever for the 'encore' that we did after the cameras stopped rolling on the night.

We (apparently) played ..

“Seven Seas Of Rhye”
“See What A Fool I’ve Been”
“God Save The Queen”

... and there is a rumour out there that someone had a video camera rolling. Even stills from that portion of the show would be nice to have. And ... yes, there will be a prize!!

cheers
Bri

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Mon 06 Jul 09**
HAMMERSMITH DVD?

[Response to questions about the possible future DVD release  of Christmas Hammersmith show- see LETTERS]

I will have to check the exact technical status of all this. Of the portion which went out live on the night, I believe we have it all ... and it can all be restored to good quality, in sound and vision. But the portion which we played after the the transmission ended, as a "thank you" to the theatre audience, was only recorded in sound, I think ... the cameras had stopped rolling. The other questions, I will have to check. As for Blu-Ray - well, I kinda think it won't apply, because the original camera shoot was not Film, or Hi-Res, as far as I know. But then, maybe I am missing something. I know the footage WAS transferred to film, but not very well !! There were errors in registration, and I seem to remember the whole thing ran at the wrong speed!

I'll check, before I get something completely wrong ... I have not yet looked at the footage, though I know Justin and Kris are well into it.

Cheers
Bri

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Mon 06 Jul 09**
THE BIRMINGHAM COLLISION

Brian playing at Birmingham WWRY

Ah ... well, yes I see the reports ... of our little accident in Birmingham. Really, I'm fine, so many thanks for all the concerned messages - I appreciate it.

And also, there was never any question of it being Roger's 'fault' ... ( or anyone else's for that matter ... ) Roger, in these situations, sits astride his kit, on a flat 'truck', to which the drums are screwed down. The whole thing moves on wheels, on a track set into the stage, which governs its trajectory when it moves. It can be propelled by manpower or by machine. But of course Roger is way too busy drumming to have any influence on where the thing goes! The movement is controlled, like everything else in the show, by calls from one person, the DSM (Deputy Stage Manager), who sits at a control desk, to the side of the stage, and 'calls' every single operation of every bit of machinery (and humans too) in the show. Once the call is given, the operators move that truck at exactly the same speed as they did in the rehearsal, until the manoeuvre is over. It was purely because we'd been foolhardy enough to play the show to a different timing to the final rehearsal, that we collided. If I'd REALLY had my wits about me I would have realised that the accident was waiting to happen, and made avoidance moves. But there was very little room at the front of that stage, and a lot of people milling about! Plus, with lights in your eyes, noise everywhere, a deafening audience (Hoorah!), and the imminent thought that roughly the right kind of notes need to be played, even when being a Returning Rock Hero(!) ... I'm afraid it was a little more than my brain could stay on top of!

But, like Roger says, that's what a LIVE show is all about ... it's real, and 'real' implies some danger. I think that's why, in the face of all the cyber-connected mainline music fads, live Rock music is having a strong resurgence. It's all about re-establishing that physical connection between people ... the reaction to virtual everything.

And We Will Rock You is the ultimate extension of Rock into Theatre-Land ... it IS live, and at times it IS dangerous!

I'm fine ... thanks .. and ... it's a good lesson to learn. I was very lucky.

Cheers
Bri

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Mon 06 Jul 09**
BBC VOTE

[Referring to BBC's Countryfile poll page - www.bbccountryfile.com/polls - see Brian News for more details.]

Let's tell our readers!!

Let's ask them to vote!

b
x
x
x

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Sun 05 Jul 09**
TOM CHAPLIN APPRECIATION

There has been a lot happening ...

I must mention that we (Roger and I) were presented with an "Ambassadors of Rock" award at the annual Nordoff-Robbins lunch last Friday. [3 July] These people do great work for sick children - it's a very significant charity, and our award was sponsored by the Hard Rock Cafe. These events are not really 'my thing' ... for various reasons ... they are a long ... a big piece of your life ... and a very good excuse for a lot of people who should know better to get drunk and stupid ... but the intentions are good ... and the honour is appreciated. The BEST thing about the whole thing was that Tom Chaplin came along, and devoted a significant amount of his time and trouble to present the award to us. He delivered a formal 'testimonial' on our qualifications for the award, and then looked up and spoke, off script, about his own feelings about us. That, coming from a great musician, at the very hub of what is live and dangerous today in Rock, was well worth me getting out of bed for. I actually nearly didn't make it, because I woke up in some pain from our accident the night before on stage at the Birmingham Hippodrome ... it was a good lesson really ... a reminder that, especially for one-off appearances, the dress rehearsal has to be the EXACT blueprint for the performance. We made the mistake of changing the timing of Roger's Rolling Drum Riser's pell-mell drive downstage after the afternoon sound-check ... so I got hit in the back, and crashed backwards into the drums. It was all over in a flash, but, as with all things like this, the moment seemed like a few minutes... So much adrenaline was flowing in those frenetic seconds that I really didn't know at the time whether I was hurt or not ... I just recovered and got on with the Bo Rap riffs. But later I saw what the accident had done to my back, and got a bit of a shock ... and overnight, the whole thing seized up. Still, it seemed churlish to make Roger do all the 'accepting' on his own, so I skipped the lunch, and just slid in, somewhat bruised, for the award.

Yes, not the greatest of days, but Tom Chaplin's speech will live in my memory for a long time. My other regret is that I didn't have the the presence of mind to thank him properly in public. We had agreed beforehand that Roger would do most of the talking ... but I really could have made a better effort. I always think of great things to say at these things AFTER the event ...

Thanks Tom. Very much appreciated.

Brian

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Sun 05 Jul 09**
WHISPERING BOB

Roger Taylor, Bob Harris and Brian May

Well, really I need to tell you guys about our visit to Birmingham ... (and thanks, by the way for your concern ... I am OK after that collision on stage).

But backstage, Roger and I had an interesting trip down memory lane .... with our old pal, Whispering Bob Harris! It was he who introduced us at that famous Christmas Eve live TV concert we did, all those years ago, in 1975. At the hallowed venue of Hammersmith Odeon (now doubtless renamed something like the Nokia Blackberry O2 Rice Krispies Apollo, or something). He's a grand chap, and a survivor ... I'm sure many of you enjoy his radio shows ...

Well, we talked about that ancient night, on camera, to generate some 'bonus' footage for the DVD of the show ... now beautifully restored, and soon to be released.

Not sure when that will be available ... but in the meantime here's a pic kindly supplied by Whispering Bob!

Cheers

Bri

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


*Fri 03 Jul 09**
MY DAUGHTER

So much happening ... too much to detail ... but

Something wonderful ... my baby daughter got her results today ... I am so proud ...

She got a FIRST CLASS HONOURS DEGREE in Biology at Imperial College. Yeeeeee hah !

I think I can deal with the hard stuff in my life - just hearing this news made it all worthwhile.

Normally I keep my children out of the limelight as much as possible ... but I got special permission to shout this from the rooftops !

Congratulations Emmy!

Love from Dad

(Bri)

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Wed 01 Jul 09**
SUPPORT MISSION TO BAN USE OF SNARES

[This week is "Snare Aware Week"... for more info see Brian News]

Yes definitely. Please support this mission to ban the use of Snares.

What kind of bastard could knowingly cause pain and suffering like this ?

If I were Prime Minister, there would be a long jail sentence for anyone convicted of setting snares, or authorising their use on their land. Selfishness, ignorance, greed. Utterly despicable.

Bri

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)


**Wed 01 Jul 09**
BIRMINGHAM !!

... And tomorrow ! Black Sabbath Country ! The WWRY tour takes on the Brummies ... and Roger and myself will be paying the brilliant team team a visit on Thursday, to give the Birmingham leg a good kick-start !! See ya there !

Cheers
Bri

We Will Rock You Birmingham Banner

We Will Roch You Birmingham Banner

© brianmay.com
(See Copyright Note
)

Next | Previous
www.banguniverse.com