brian's soapbox
MAY 2013



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.

- Lame Claims
- Stereo and Freeview Notes



Welcome to

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

1 | 2

A few Tweets:

Dr. Brian May ‏@DrBrianMay
Never pass up a Sunset. How many are we allowed ? Every one is precious.

Just one sunset.

A white piece of cardboard and a small telescope or a pair of binoculars are all you need. And preferably something to support them.

On a sunny day, mount the binoculars on a tripod and cover up one object lens (not the eyepiece). DO NOT LOOK THROUGH the BINOCULARS ...

By looking at the shadow of the bins on the white card, you can point the bins directly at the sun. Suddenly a bright image will appear ..

Suddenly a bright image will appear in the middle of the shadow. Hold the card a couple of feet away from the eyepiece. Focus the bins.
Focus the binoculars til you see a sharp image of the sun. Remember that you will burn your fingers if they get too near the eyepiece.

This is me projecting the Sun at the Transit of Venus 2004. A Heath-Robinson coat hanger supports the white card.
View photo

The Moon bright and clear tonight: a perfect Last Quarter. Then comes the Dawn. Still awesome after all these years.
View photo

My roof was good to me tonight. And so were you, Amigos de los Tweets. Thanks 'night all. Bri


**Wed 15 May 13**
Direct link

Proud of my missis! This play will open at Riverside, Hammersmith in a few weeks time.


Carnival of the Animals


** Tue 14 May 13**
Direct link

Bri and Jeremy Vine - Debating
Bri and Jeremy Vine - Debating

This was an unusual brief - "Write 700 words on the subject of what it is to be human … and read it live on air, on Radio 2".

Then answer questions on basically the story of my life. I kinda said "yes" before I had time to question it … and hurriedly wrote my piece a couple of days before. In fact, I knew it was too long, and I just let them edit it down to the required length.

I'm usually more careful and controlling than that! But life is insanely busy here, and they seemed like a good lot. I think my trust was entirely justified - Jeremy Vine had handsomely done his homework, and has a great background of knowledge anyway, and his style seemed to be penetrating without being destructive.

OK. Here's the piece - re-transcribed by Jen. [We hope to add transcript of the interview that followed. See also on Youtube.]

By the way, thanks for all the great comments you already sent me, folks. I was amazed, actually … because I thought some of what I was saying might seem on the edge. In fact there seems to be a lot more awareness out there than I realised, of how decency in this country is being eroded.



13 May 2013
and featured in The New Statesman Magazine 13 May 2013



Question - What Makes Us Human?


Well, we'd have to define 'Human', wouldn't we?  Apart from the trivial meaning of pertaining to a member of the homo sapien species, the word is usually used in two ways, which are relate.  The first wa: characteristic of people as opposed to God, animals or machines, especially in being susceptible to weaknesses, for example "They're only human and therefore mistakes do occur".  The second definition is: characteristic of people's better qualities, such as kindness or sensitivity, for example: "The human side of politics is getting stronger".  Well that would be nice.

These definitions are straight out of Apple's dictionary and probably typical.  So here we see the qualities, which we hope are to be found in us and it's noticeable that they're not the qualities of accumulating riches or power, or dominating what surrounds us.  On the contrary, the qualities, which we instinctively make us special as a race are the opposite of what so much of the world actually strives for.

We apparently admire vulnerability, consciousness of our own weakness and consideration of other beings around us - being human.

So it doesn't take 700 words to define what makes us human.  By common consent it's "kindness".  But if this the common perception of what's to be proud of in human behaviour, why is it that when we look around we see the very opposite?  We see decisions made purely on the basis of money or to benefit the careers of those wielding the power.  We see people being cruel to children, to the disadvantaged and to the other creatures with whom we share this glistening, blue planet.  We see people enjoying the pain they can inflict on other beings and vigorously defending their right to do so as a 'civil liberty'.

It's almost impossible for me to believe but there are people at this moment working night and day to keep hold of their right to indulge in despicable cruelty.

Once upon a time it was legal to keep black men in chains, to burn so-called "witches" at the stake, to dig out badgers and use them as bait for training dogs to be vicious, to hunt wild animals with packs of dogs, who would literally rip the quarry limb from limb.   All of these things are now illegal, but every day and every night there are teams of people working to bring back blood sports, these inhuman behaviours.  And in fact these people are supported by many rich and powerful people in Britain today.  Some of them are in our Government.

It's worse than this.  Just as the laws, which protect children from abuse are flouted behind closed doors and time and time again atrocities are exposed, the laws such as they are against wildlife crime are routinely being broken in the countryside.

Law and order has broken down.  Thousands of badgers are now being slaughtered and thrown on the roads.  Many Fox Hunts regularly hunt foxes to death in contempt of the Law, which the present regime is refusing enforce.  The sickening practice of badger baiting is rife and actually increasing.  It appears the inhuman side of humans is winning, but only if we let it.

It's been said that for evil to flourish, it only takes a few good men to do nothing about it.

Perhaps after all the most laughable, simplistic generalisation is true?  Perhaps there are two kinds of human being? - on the one hand, those that understand that we are all, human and non-human, just animals, and the gift that's been given to Man is awareness to make the world a kind place for all.  And on the other hand there are those who don't get it and cling to the idea that Man, or more accurately 'they', are the only thing that really matters on this planet and that all other beings - men, women, children and animals - are to be used and abused at their pleasure.

It's shocking to see, but after the past few years when I've been campaigning, I've seen so much awful cruelty and so much shining goodness as well, it seems to me that nobody's mind ever changes.  It seems that the good can never persuade the bad to change, and vice versa.

The amount of wasted effort is enormous and depressing. 

All we can hope for, it seems to me, is a decent, benign, compassionate Government one day, who will outlaw the cruelty of ALL kinds and enforce decent behaviour on those who cannot see they're doing anything wrong.  That's been the pattern of progress in the past.  That's Wilberforce.

But are we human?  Are we a humane race?

Looking around at the world of concrete we've created in which the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the weak get persecuted to extinction, I seriously wonder if we have the right to call ourselves as a reach "Human".  We have a hell of a long way to go.


Brian May, thank you.



Brian and Jeremy Vine
Brian May and Jeremy Vine - at BBC Radio 2


**Sun 12 May 13**
Direct link

In homage to New York … here's a few images from our brief stay. There wasn't much spare time.

Here's my hyperstereo of the new Freedom Tower - apparently more correctly, officially, called 1WTC - though I imagine the other name will triumph by will of the people. I don't know how many stereo views there are in existence of this structure. Maybe none until now. I am enjoying this. I never won any prizes for Stereo views - maybe I'll enter this one !!

This is the stereo pair of views for parallel free-viewing (What is that? See on our London Stereoscopic Co site - or see link at top left of Soapbox page above.)

Freedom Tower from Soho House - parallel view
Freedom Tower from Soho House (parallel view)

and the crossed-eyes version for those who free-view the other way, with eyes toed-in.

Freedom Tower from Soho House (cross view)
Freedom Tower from Soho House (cross view)

I took the photo from the roof garden of Soho House, where I was lunching, courtesy of my QUEEN colleague Roger Taylor, who is a member. Because of the movement of the clouds between my two exposures (about 20 feet apart), it looks in this stereo as if the Tower is enveloped by the clouds. I liked this effect.

We had just completed our audition process with the musicians we hope will make up our touring We Will Rock You band this year in the USA. They really are GREAT musicians. Matched with an amazing new young cast (more of that later), the show will be ALL class.

Here's a close-up of the tower - sequential, and not perfect - but gives an impression of this dazzling piece of architecture. I was fascinated. The topmost piece was placed while were there - making the total height of the tower 1776 feet. Does that ring any bells to British people? It sure does to an American!

Again … for parallel viewing here ...

Freedom Tower - parallel view
Freedom Tower (parallel view)

and for crossed-eyes viewing.

Freedom Tower - cross view
Freedom Tower (cross view)

Cheers !



**Fri 10 May 13**
Direct link

That was such a great day - thanks for all the work you put in, guys.

You ALL rocked !


New York - WWRY final day auditions - group shot
Click for larger image


**Tue 07 May 13**
Direct link

New York

I've come to an old favourite place to find a new cast and band for We Will Rock You USA. New York City.

Love ya.



**Sat 04 May 13**
Direct link

Flash Mob Participants. Photo by Dana Kubick
Participants giving a voice to Britain's Badgers - at the Lush Flash Mob event.
Photo: Dana Kubick

I think a quick clarification is needed of the Lush Anti-Badger Cull Flash Mob confusion, since it seems to have found its way into most of the newspapers in one way or another.

There was never any intention or need for me to be present at the flash mob event. As some of you may have noticed, I don't dance, with or without a mob! And this was not a march, or a demo as such - simply an artistic statement of a point of view by a small troupe of performers. I was busy, working to deadlines on projects, which will be revealed soon, and my contribution was:

1) to supply the dancers with a rough mix MP3 of our new version of Weebl's Badger Badger Badger song, which we now call "Save the Badger Badger Badger". The Lush team were originally going to dance to the original version of this Internet sensation, by Weebl himself, but this was an opportunity for them to do something new and more relevant.

2) to wish them luck - on Twitter, and privately.

Unfortunately on the day before the event, somebody at Lush apparently came up with an incorrect draft press release saying "Brian May will be present with the flash-mob as they dance and call for the badger cull to be replaced by badger vaccination." I saw it some time that afternoon, and immediately sent a message saying, "That's not correct - we need to rewrite this". It was agreed that the draft would not go out, and would be replaced by a new version, which I sat down and wrote with Anne Brummer, and sent back in a corrected form.

Unfortunately, while I got back to work in the studio, thinking the matter had been dealt with, somebody in the Lush office leaked the incorrect press release to the media.

To cut a long story short, by the time it got into print, that innocuous little sentence had got translated into "Brian May to lead Flash Dance, wearing a badger suit"!

The new statement was later published, which confirmed that I wasn't in fact booked to be at the Flash Mob. But by that time, reporters were turning up at Smith Square expecting to see a furry Brian May. When no such thing happened, they were understandably disappointed.

Thus there have been a few mistaken reports like "Brian May backs out of anti Badger Cull event", or even, I am told, "Brian May abandoning the anti-cull campaign". Well, I'm happy to report that none of this is even slightly true. Happy, but also frustrated that false information was given. If I do commit to being somewhere in public, I am THERE, as anyone will tell you - no question. Everybody in the media knows that's the way I work - professionally.

Well, Lush have kindly apologised to me, but I think an apology to the media would also be helpful. It's not the papers' fault they were wrongly informed. None of us is perfect, and mistakes do happen; but the thing to do is hold up a hand and say "Sorry - we made a mistake" and then we all move on.

Having said all this, it's important to acknowledge the fine work that Lush do. The event was actually very well created by Lush, whose staff put in a massive amount of work to make it happen. It was a big success, and highlights the huge number of spontaneous outbursts that are appearing in the UK - indicating that more and more people DO understand the fact that this cull won't work, and will cause incalculable cruelty in our countryside.

Onwards! And by the way ... am I giving up on the Badgers?!! No, folks, never fear. My colours are nailed to the mast.

Some things ARE black and white.



**Fri 03 May 13**
Direct link

Kerry Ellis

I wouldn't normally be so shamelessly commercial, but DO NOT MISS THIS - still a few seats left !!

To tie in with the imminent release of The Kissing Me Song –

I will be guesting, and we'll be doing an 'Acoustic by Candlelight' section as well as a new electric sequence.

Kerry has a whole bunch of other guests too, including some Exceptional Ephabas and WWRY alumni Alex Gaumond.

She'll be doing a Queen song or two, plus excerpts from the Kerry Ellis Anthems album, and some surprises.


Bring a pal !

Cheers !


Kerry Ellis Palladium Poster


**Wed 01 May 13**
Direct link

Contrary to lurid rumours in the Press (where do they get this stuff ?), I'm not dressing up in a badger suit today, and I'm not leading the Flash Mob outside DEFRA.

It's all been organised by Lush, as part of their nationwide campaign to save Britain's badgers.

It's actually not my song they are dancing to, either, though I helped to produce it (and there might be some Flash influence in there!)

The song is by Weebl … the talented and mysterious Badger Badger Badger Mushroom Mushroom artist; and badger friendly kids from all over Britain have put a lot of work into this event.

I'm working to tough deadlines in the studio today. But our team will be there, (as well as 50 badger dancers!) outside DEFRA in Smith Square in London at 12 noon, filming for a related project – so –

Please, if you are in the area, DO GO ALONG to support Lush's excellent campaign. There might also be an opportunity to be in our video!

It all helps spread the word, vital if we are to have any chance of saving the thousands of badger families threatened by the impending Government massacre.

Brock On !




Next | Previous