brian's soapbox



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

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**Tue 27 Nov 12**

Impressively factual and fair article. Hats off to FG !



**Tue 27 Nov 12**

Many Thanks Amar.

I will tweet this - and my folks will be able to see it here.

This woman is a Hero.

What despicable men these are. Cowards, unworthy of the term Human.

Well, this shows what state of lawlessness our countryside is really in.

Law and Order in the country, under this government, have broken down.



**Tue 27 Nov 12**

Here is a time-lapse video of the Universe as seen from La Palma, sent to me by Dr Israelian. This beautiful island in the Canaries is very close to my heart, and is the home of the largest telescope in the world - the GTC. This video comes close to the way I see it in my mind, and makes me feel somehow homesick, although it is really Tenerife where I spent most of my observation time. The Canary Islands to me are somehow close to Heaven.

About 40 seconds in, you can see the lovely cone-shaped white glow of the Zodiacal Light - the subject of my PhD thesis … sunlight reflected from Dust in the Solar System. You might well see this if you ever visit La Palma and go up to my favourite car park at the very top of the Caldera rim - 'Los Muchachos', where the observatory is.

Island in the Sky

Here's a still from the video. Look! You can see Orion at left, rotated a long way clockwise, more than we ever see him - for La Palma is much closer to the Equator than we are in the UK. Just right of centre is the little cluster of the Pleiades, and the 'V' shaped bigger cluster of the Hyades to its left. In the centre, that bright object must be Venus, I guess, though I don't know for sure, since I don't see a date on the video. Surrounding all these is a glow. That's not just the glow of the sunset - it's too long after the disappearance of the Sun for that - it's the Zodiacal Light.

Enjoy !


Island in the Sky from Christoph Malin on Vimeo.


**Mon 26 Nov 12**

Today was my last appearance as Chancellor of the University, presenting degrees. I've really enjoyed the experience, with an amazing team at LJMU. I'll be returning in the next session of ceremonies to hand over to my successor - yet to be named.

Thanks to everyone who made my term of office a joy. Here we are in Liverpool Cathedral today.

Bri and Beth Tweedle

Chancellor Bri confers honorary degree on Olympic phenomenon Beth Tweddle. Photo: Sara Bricusse.

Chancellor Dr Brian May

Chancellor Dr Brian May

LJMU Group

Congratulations to all you young Men and Women who graduated today at Liverpool John Moores University. A privilege to shake your hands.

I am back in rainy London now. It's a confusing world. These days I seem to be loved (thanks !) and hated.

I got a few hugs and kisses ! Incredible how much can transmit from one human being to another in one handshake.

That was my last ceremony as Chancellor - my thanks to all at Liverpool John Moores for a great 5-year experience. Keep on Dreamin' !

Yes, I will miss being Chancellor. But I extended my term from 3 years to 5. Twas a good run. Time to let someone else in.

You guys have all been great. I will be back in Summer to hand over Chancellorship. ... my love to all.



**Mon 26 Nov 12**

I'm so glad you guys liked that article by Garik Israelian on the Star that is now Dead.

Well, my dear pal and esteemed astro-photographer Jamie Cooper has just taken a great photograph of this mysterious and dramatic object, known, catchily, as "HR 8752".

First, here's Jamie's schematic of where to find it - not far from the easily-spotted 'W'- shaped constellation of Cassiopeia - high in the night sky right now. (It's on the opposite side of the pole star from the Plough, and about equally far away … the Plough and Cassiopeia can be seen to wheel around the North pole star all year round, and never set, if you live in temperate Northern latitudes.)

Where to find HR 8752

And - yes - embedded at lower left is the photo Jamie has taken of the object, using light that has been travelling for a few thousand years towards us. Garik's observations indicate that the star is no longer there - but has exploded as a Supernova and is now a black hole of a few solar masses. (See HERE)

Here is the full res view of the area, as photographed by Jamie. He used a remote astro-camera controlled over the Internet .. and amazing modern development. So the camera and telescope were under clear night skies in Mexico, and Jamie was at home under clouds in the UK !

Star HR8752

The star is not very bright, but, at around 5th Magnitude, ought to be just about visible to the naked eye if you live in a place without light pollution …

Enjoy !



**Mon 26 Nov 12**

Diableries are coming

We are on track for the publishing of our revolutionary book on the little French Devils of the 1850s …. DIABLERIES ! It is a full-scale stereoscopic tome with an OWL included, produced to the quality of 'A Village Lost and Found'. The research and writing for it has taken over three years, but that was really just the culmination of three lifetimes of enquiries.

It's unique ! And a little scary ! We're all excited.

Our publisher in the UK, in the English language, is Carlton … who have done a great job for us on the Queen books recently. In fact, it is a joint publishing venture with my own London Stereoscopic Company.

But the book cries out to be published in French too, of course. And Denis has already finished the French translation.

The thing is … sadly … our negotiations with French publishers have come to nothing. We do not seem to be able to find a French publisher who appreciates the importance of this work as a piece of art, or as an insight into a forgotten, and highly significant, piece of French History.

IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE who can help us ?

Cheers ! Bri

(et Merci Beaucoup !)

Replies please to: - or -


**Sun 25 Nov 12**

Ah ! That's the photo I wanted. By kind permission of Andrew Bytheway.

Kerry, Freddie and Brian - Leamington Spa
Kerry, Freddie and Brian - Leamington Spa

That's the one to finish on.

Bri x


**Sun 25 Nov 12**

It was a good night at the Dorchester. The Make-a-Wish people have been doing these dinners for over 20 years … in which time they've raised over 20 Million pounds for the cause.

What they do is make wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses … it's lovely work they do. As a matter of interest, it was because of Make-a-Wish that I met little Vicky Moore, all those years ago, and we became friends. We continued to make music almost up until her sad, unfair death, which nobody could stop. Her writings are still on this site - she was quite a girl.

Tonight was a good experience … I tweeted a pic of Kerry and me just before we went down to the show.

But what we didn't show was the reality … us being snuck through the kitchens to make our entrance. Ah … the glamour ! ha ha.

Brian and Kerry in Dorchester kitchen before performance
Photo by Sara Bricusse

And we did play a song for Freddie, of course – Life is Real – actually even more stripped down than on our tour … because there were no keyboards to back me up on the solo section. To be honest, it's a little harder, but I kinda like the extreme purity of truly one guitar and one voice. The other songs: I, Who Have Nothing - always enjoyable to play (extreme dramatic starkness!), Born Free, the Kissing me Song (again - ultra simply) - and Crazy Little Thing for an 'encore'. They gave us a standing ovation … very heartening because it was not an audience who had paid to see us. THANKS !

Our Brilliant cast from We Will Rock You did the cabaret later in the evening. Big thanks to you guys … that's a lot to ask after a day's work in the Dominion.

Kerry is now back in technical rehearsals for WAR OF THE WORLDS. That will be something to see … I'm sure a lot of you will catch the show on tour in the coming weeks.

Me? I have to get an op done soon on the torn cartilage (and other damage and debris!) in my knee. But first I will be in Liverpool - doing my job as Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores.

Cheers All



**Sat 24 Nov 12**

Well on this day of some sadness, I have discovered that a Sunday Newspaper is trying to make trouble for me, suggesting I am hiding something. Obviously this is not an accident. As Gavin Grant (president of the RSPCA) has said to me, when you are fighting for a cause, you can define your progress by the friends you make, but also by the enemies you make. I have put a lot of people's backs up by fighting against hunting, and blood sports in General. The principal force which fights FOR blood sports is the so-called Countryside Alliance. Now many of you may be new to this idea. The name 'Countryside Alliance', of course, sounds nice and gentle and rural, doesn't it? It sounds like these would be people who are nurturing our forest and glades, protecting the wild animals ? Well, nothing could be further from the truth. They chose this euphemistic name carefully. The CA is essentially a continuation of an organisation which used to be called the 'Field Sports Association' - and for 'Field Sports', read 'Blood Sports'. For these ugly and barbaric 'sports' that they still promote are Fox-Hunting with packs of dogs, Stag Hunting with dogs, and the truly despicable practice of hare-coursing. All these 'traditional' activities were made illegal by the Hunting Act of 2004, but is no secret that all of them still go on, on a daily basis, because under this Government a blind eye is turned. Indeed Cameron and his buddies all have close connections with the CA and had promised to try to make blood sports legal again.

So, people like me and the RSPCA and IFAW and PETA and LACS … all of whom are fighting for decent treatment for animals, are the target of scurrilous people who would like to discredit us.

This 'story' was phoned through to my chaps a couple of days ago, with the usual kind of threat that they will publish anyway, but 'what did we have to say for ourselves', as if we had something to hide. Well, we don't. I'm printing my letter to this reporter Kevin Dowling below, so you guys, and anyone else who is interested, can see the truth. But expect a sensationalist piece in the Sunday Times tomorrow, making out that I have done something against my principles. I haven't.

All the very best




You're obviously trying to make trouble for me, Kevin? I wonder why? I wonder who put you up to it? Perhaps you'd be kind enough to tell me. I sniff Countryside Alliance involvement - they would love to find ways to discredit me, because my activities to protect animals are a threat to them.

Well, somebody has misinformed you, if they have told you there is culling of deer going on my land. And actually I know that Tilhill, who run it for me, have already informed you of the truth of the situation, so I cannot fathom why you would still want to print what is obviously a lie.

I inherited culling of deer on the land I bought in Dorset a few years ago, and was initially advised that I ought to keep it up because having a game-keeper discouraged poachers, and improved the health of the deer population. I had my doubts, but I was new to forest management, and realised I had much to learn.

I decided to let it continue for a short period, observe for a while, and then take what action I felt was right. A couple of years ago, having studied the effects, I decided to stop the culling.

I came in for some criticism for stopping it, but I believe, having now seen it close at hand, that, as far as animal welfare and land management are concerned, there was not good enough reason to cull.

I believe that for the foreseeable future this land can sustain the wildlife it contains, without interference from Man. That capability will be enhanced by the new purchase of adjoining land, which I intend to replant as 'native' forest - a sanctuary for wild animals where they can live in peace, and be enjoyed by local residents. No hunting of any kind will be permitted on this land.


Brian May


**Sat 24 Nov 12**

On this day half a lifetime ago we lost a great human being,

but he was kind enough to leave us with his inspiring work.

Freddie Forever !

Miss ya



**Fri 23 Nov 12**

My dear friend, the eminent Armenian astronomer Garik Israelian, is part of a team which has just published a unique and quite amazing discovery.

They have, by comparing observations made over many years, identified a particular kind of star in a particular phase of its life, and are able to say with some confidence that, although we and our descendants will be able to see the star shining in our skies for at least hundreds of years to come, it probably no longer exists.

Here is what Garik says :

For the first time, we see a star which most probably (99%) does not exist now, in our time.

The star HR8752 is few thousand light years from us, so we are seeing it as it was a few thousand years ago.

I have estimated that when the stellar light corresponding to its present state reaches us, this star will be seen to have exploded as Supernova. Our observations indicate spectacular changes in the internal structure: the star is losing 1 solar mass every year !!! And its current mass is less than 20 solar masses. It will not "expire" in 20 years, but in less than 1000 years it will evolve so fast that the ONLY final solution for the star will be a Supernova explosion.

Attention! My statement (that we are looking at a star which does not exist NOW) does not apply to any other known stars in the Galaxy – no matter how far away they are. More than 99% of the galactic stars are stable enough that we can be sure that they are still there – they exist NOW.

Of course you may say "what about very distant galaxies, 10 billion light years away? The universe is less than 14 billion years old, so maybe those far away galaxies do not exist anymore?" Again, the answer is "They DO exist today".

The star HR8752 is dead. It has become a black hole of a few solar masses - ie - with a mass a few times that of our Sun.


I will ask Garik for a picture of this star.

Cheers !



**Thu 15 Nov 12**

Very sad to report the passing of a great stereoscopist and friend - Ray Zone.

I've made this stereo from an as yet uncompleted documentary film in which Ray interviewed Elena Vidal and myself on the subject of "A Village Lost and Found". I hope the complete film will be available at some point. It was filmed in 3-D, though, unfortunately, as you can see, the technicians were over-cautious on baseline - there isn't much actual 3-D on Ray's face. But I think he'd be OK with this 3-D snap.

Ray Zone
Photo Credit: Jeff Amaral

Ray was a great exponent of the art and science of 3-D photography, the writer of many excellent articles and books on the subject, and over a period of more than 40 years, he contributed life and illumination to the world of 3-D. His sudden passing away has left the stereoscopic community stunned, and he will be sorely missed. Our sincere condolences to his family. This man is not replaceable.

RIP Ray. Bri

P.S. Here is Eric Kurland's nice obituary - and a note that Jeff Amaral sent me which made me happy today.



It is with great sadness that I must report the sudden passing of our
friend Ray Zone.

Ray passed away on Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He leaves a
long legacy as an author, publisher, historian, photographer,
filmmaker and artist. A longtime advocate of stereography as an art
form, he earned the title "King of 3-D Comics" for publishing or
producing the 3-D separations for over 130 3-D comic books. Ray was a
longtime member and past President of the LA 3-D Club, and was
currently serving as the club's Vice President.

And he was my mentor and dear friend. Rest in peace.

Eric Kurland
Los Angeles 3-D Club (SCSC)

Jeff Amaral: "I will tell you that at the 3D convention this Summer, after your discussion of 'Brief History' together post-screening, Ray told me that "did you hear that Jeffrey, Brian May said I was his hero". Ray loved your book and your passion."


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