brian's soapbox
MARCH 2017

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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.

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Cheers ! Bri
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**Thu 23 Mar 17**
NASA - SUN WITHOUT SUN SPOTS
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NASA photos of our Sun without Sunspots. An unusually quiet time.

I couldn't resist making a stereo, which shows how turbulent the Sun's 'surface' (the photosphere) is.

Bri

NASA SUN STEREO

Reads:
NASA
The sun has had no sunspots, for 11 days, a spotless stretch that we have not seen since the last solar minimum. go.nasa.gov/2n4TWrm

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**Thu 23 Mar 17**
GOLDEN DAYS
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GOLDEN DAYS ! The Album !

Release 7th April 2017.

Golden Days

Bri

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**Thu 23 Mar 17**
LONDON STANDS TALL AS ALWAYS
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London stands tall as always.

Deepest sympathies to those families afflicted
by this hideous act of violence.

We shall not be moved.

Bri

 

Big Ben
Photo courtesy of Momo @zodiacaldust

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**Thu 23 Mar 17**
THIS LITTLE DARWIN
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This little Darwin is a very small rescuee at Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue - Save Me headquarters. She's a baby girl fox. She needs a name !

In this picture Anne Brummer is bottle feeding her with special formula milk (not cows) from a syringe. Baby has a very healthy suck ! The will to live is strong.

Bri

Darwin baby fox

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**Mon 20 Mar 17**
CAN YOU WAIT? - QUEEN MONOPOLY / GOLDEN DAYS
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Can you wait ? Queen Monopoly will hit the streets in May. Tour the World with QUEEN and conquer all ! There can be only ONE winner !

Monopoly montage

Good Luck in Belfast Kerry ! Say hi from me ! Kerry and Bri album released 7th April !! GOLDEN DAYS !!!

Golden Days photoshoot

Just in case you thought you were alone despairing over Theresa May's hopeless Brexit mess - READ THIS !

Bri

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**Sun 19 Mar 17**
QUEEN MONOPOLY - YES ! IT'S TRUE !!!
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A little teaser for your enjoyment. Yes ! QUEEN Monopoly should be in your local shop in May !!

YES ! It's true !!!

We've been very secretly developing Queen Monopoly for over a year. And it's due in a shop near you in May.

I'm excited - it was a blast working on it - like making an album ! We hope you love it !

Choose your weapons !!!

---

This is how I feel right now. Except not quite so brave. Thanks Sherry. And again thanks to someone unknown to me who took this pic.

Hyde Park


This warmed my heart tonight ! Thank you Carol. And Thank you A.A. Milne. And ...thanks to someone I don't know.

Pooh and Piglet

Bri

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**Sun 19 Mar 17**
R.I.P. CHUCK BERRY
"HONEY IS THAT YOU ?!"
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Chuck Berry

“Honey is that you ?!”

 

I’ve tweeted about Chuck Berry tonight.

I was shocked to hear he’d gone. And then you get that haunting feeling that you didn’t think of him for ages, even though he was a massive influence on your life.  I never met Chuck Berry, sadly, but in a way maybe it’s better I remained the fan at a distance that I always was, from the very beginnings of my own love affair with the guitar.  

As always when talking about the 1950s, it’s very hard to convey how revolutionary this man was – how outrageously original and daring – how shocking it was for the world to witness people like Chuck smash the existing world order of popular music into bits. 

There’s a great sequence in the wonderful Back to the Future film, where a young Marty McFly picks up a guitar, sits in with a smooth dance band of the day, and rips into a Chuck Berry riff - morphing the band into a Rock outfit in an instant, and setting the whole place alight.  The delicious joke is that Chuck Berry hears this on the phone and learns this way of playing from Marty.  It’s a very subtle piece of tongue-in-cheek filmic history-rewriting, and of course Chuck was in on the gag.  It has a real truth embedded in it, too, because, as far as I know, nobody knows where or how Chuck got inspired to play like that.  It's as if he must have tuned in to an alien, or a voice from Above, or, like in this film, copped it from a time traveller from the future.

That’s how blindingly NEW Chuck Berry’s style was. Remember we’re coming out of an era where the guitar was only just starting to be heard as a lead instrument – a ‘voice’ – in popular music. Until that time it had been used in orchestras and big bands purely as a rhythmic ‘chug' in the background, until it became electrified, and amplified - notably by Les Paul, but equally notably by Django Reinhart.  Suddenly here is this wiry little black guy with a wicked smile and a glint in his eye, singing his own songs which are in themselves quite risqué, with a wry dry voice, but also underpinning his performances and recordings with a guitar which rudely led the whole thing … his riffing was as rude and cheeky as his voice.  It’s actually more than this.  He hit those tight top strings of his guitar with such gusto that they actually made a kind of insistent clanging sound (one of his most famous lyrics (in Johnny B. Goode) says “He could play that guitar like ringin’ a bell”.  I sincerely believe there is not a single rock guitarist in the world who hasn’t been influenced, directly or indirectly, by Chuck Berry’s ‘bell’ playing, and who hasn’t occasionally dabbled in his trademark double-stopped riffing style - which opens Johnny B Goode, Bye Bye Johnny, Carol, and many others among his classic rock records.  

Yes, I’ll own up straight away … there’s a very deliberate direct quote in my playing in the coda of ‘Now I’m Here’ – followed by another nod … the thrown-in chorus “Go go go little Queenie”.  This was in a song which was already a tribute to Mott The Hoople, whom we’d been supporting on tour, and who also can trace some of their influences to Chuck.  The whole song is really about our swim in the Rock River which flows, and grows, and lives, largely because it IS so self-conscious about enjoying its roots.  

Chuck was a root.  Or to continue mixing metaphors, to us all, a source of the River.  Who knows how the River got to him, but he was a fundamental creator of Rock and Roll, and it’s significant that his lineage was much closer to the authentic Blues of Muddy Water, Blind Blake, Howlin’ Wolf, Lonnie Johnson and the like, than his contemporaries, the white boys who became intoxicated with that earthy realism, and stood alongside Chuck as the Fathers of Rock – Elvis, Buddy Holly, Rick Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.  How incredible it was for us young kids to be witness to this explosion.  Little Richard was the other wild man … listen to a Johnny Ray tune, or Perry Como, and then put on Little Richard’s 'Good Golly Miss Molly’ or Chuck’s ‘Nadine’ - and feel the shock ! 

Interesting that the same Back to the Future sequence has an equally smart ending - Marty turns up his amp further to distort and sustain, and launches into a Ed Van Halen tapping extravaganza (EVH himself did the dubbing), and the band - and the kids - just don’t get it - they were not ready to see THIS far into the future ! 

And it’s interesting to note that Jimi Hendrix played a blistering rendition of Johnny B Goode (check him out live on Youtube) - done with obvious reverence, and yet bringing the technique forward into an entirely new place.  We’re seeing Quantum leaps here … From Swing to Chuck Berry, to Jimi Hendrix, to Ed Van Halen - all players who sensationally broke all the rules of the game as they entered it - and made unholy splashes in the River ! 

Well, I’m off to play some Chuck Berry records before I go to sleep tonight.  I wanna relive those moments, and pay my own private homage to the Great Chuck Berry.

RIP Chuck.   

Bri 

 

CHUCK BERRY - R.I.P.

Rock and Roll grieves tonight as our hero
Chuck Berry
steps into the next world.

We salute you Chuck -
the greatest inspiration to us all.

With love

Bri

 




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**Sat 18 Mar 17**
QUEEN MONOPOLY

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Well YES !!! So somebody leaked this info ! I should have leaked it myself ! I think Queen fans will love our new Monopoly game.

Launch of our fabulous new official Queen Monopoly game scuppered by a leak to AMAZON ! But you guys will love it I'm sure. I do !

Since the cork is already out of the bottle - what do you reckon these little guys are ? Which one would you choose ?

Bri

Game pieces - stereo

Queen Monopoly Game pieces

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**Fri 03 Mar 17**
RORY GALLAGHER
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Saluting the wonderful guitarist and quintessential gentleman,

RORY GALLAGHER.

Happy Birthday Rory - Rock On ! And thanks Slash.

Bri

Rory Gallagher

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