Well it’s not every day you get on a plane and find yourself featured in the in-flight magazine !
See text transcript below
The chap two seats to my left brought it over and asked me if I was Brian May. Now it’s strange – for me, that’s always an awkward question to answer. Why is that ? Is it my natural insecurity, or trepidation at the kind of conversation that will ensue ? Anyway on this occasion I just said plainly, like in a marriage ceremony “I am” and shook his hand. He was a mature Singapore native gentleman – very much the business man – and I was surprised to hear him say he was a life-long Queen fan. He showed me the article and asked me to sign it. Which I happily did. He was very polite and considerate – as I’ve found Singapore people in general to be.
I don’t take this kind of thing for granted. It’s still quite surprising to me to be treated like a rock star. I never go into a situation with that kind of expectation. My life is spent in so many different worlds – and I’m never quite sure which angle people I meet are going to be coming from.
In the general public area – anything is possible. When I see out of the corner of my eye that someone’s body language is making it clear they are about to approach me, it can be for any kind of reason. Some just come and say – “Nice to see you – thanks for the music that changed my life.” That’s a nice thing to hear, and it never gets old. Sometimes they will say “My Dad thinks you’re the coolest – can I have an autograph with [for] him?” That’s quite sweet – even if there’s a slight undertone of “Mind you, I prefer Florence and the Machine myself.” Then there’s some who just see an opportunity -“Sign this for us, mate” and you’re aware that they’re not really sure who you are a they just want something for nothing. At that point you have a choice – give in gracefully to being exploited, or a ” sorry mate, I’m busy.” In my mind both options are OK depending on circumstances. If the circumstance is that you’re martialling your children’s children through a busy airport, definitely the latter.
Then, of course, these days everybody has a camera in their hand – it’s the mobile phone that we all clutch every minute of the day as if it were a part of our body that might fall off. So generally these days you don’t get off with just signing something. “Can I have a selfie?” Is the next part of the conversation. Usually “Just one.” Again, there’s a choice. But then there will generally be a problem making the camera work. “I don’t usually do this”, they will say while fumbling with the phone … “Can we get someone to take it ?” Passers-by are then accosted. By this point I’m now definitely aware that the clock of my life’s duration is definitely ticking. Especially since I can see this activity is attracting attention and there is now a little knot of people who want the same thing – and why wouldn’t they ?
So at some point the decision becomes a non-decision. Time to get away. Then I will hear – “Oh, what’s the matter with him – I only wanted one picture. Who is he anyway ?”
It’s all fun and games.
And in spite of everything, although, as George Harrison said ” I asked to be successful – I never asked to be famous” … I still wouldn’t swap my life for the other outcome, whatever that might have been. I am, as I learned in Cottonwood de Tucson, Happy, Grateful and Blessed.
And more so today than ever. Having just thrown up for 24 hours in a hotel room thousands of miles from home – due to food poisoning, I’m grateful for lots of small things – still being alive – being able to eat (36 hours of enforced fasting will do that) and still being able to work. Thanks to a number of jabs in the buttocks from a fast-acting doctor it looks like I’ll be able to run around and make a noise tonight in Taipei. Thank God this was a 2-day break. I never would have been able to make it last night. And the consequences of cancelling a show are too horrible. It means the whole touring party has come to the other side of the world only to sit around doing nothing and thousands of fans are disappointed. Nobody needs that.
So right now I’m in an optimistic mood. That’s to add to the list of things to be grateful for – and is probably the biggest ‘thank you’ of all – I’m not depressed.
When you’re not depressed all kinds of things make you smile. I love this cruet – part of the way they serve a meal in this excellent Singapore Airways flight.
Enjoy highlights of this year’s Isle Of Wight Festival with classic rockers The Who, Queen and more.
WORDS TOM CASSIDY
Tucked away in the English Channel, only four miles off the coast of mainland Britain, the tiny Isle of Wight held its first music festival in 1968. Headlined by head-hippies Jefferson Airplane, this Summer of Love counterculture gathering earned the Isle a solid reputation for good vibes. The Isle of Wight Festival today is a much larger affair than its ‘60s beginnings: this year;s event attracted almost 60,999 people for a weekend of classic rock with headliners The Who, Queen + Adam Lambert and Faithless.
On the Friday evening, Welsh rockers Stereophonics busted out their hits and got the crowd into a frenzy, ready for dance act Faithless. With their hits Insomnia and God is a DJ, Faithless closed the first day in style. Music press darlings The Kills brought their stripped-back blues rock to the main stage on Saturday, before the spirit of rock ’n’ roll continued with a shirtless Iggy Pop tearing up the festival with his boundless energy. After Iggy, former The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft saw in the evening with a host of solo songs and classics from his old group, including crowd-pleasers Lucky Man and Bittersweet Symphony.
Pushing crowd-pleasing to the next level – after more than 50 years’ practice – were The Who, who came complete with singer Roger Daltrey’s signature microphone-swinging and guitarist Pete Townshend’s windmill power chords.
Against stiff competition, the guitar god of the weekend was Brian May of Queen, who on Sunday night enlisted the help of flamboyant singer Lambert to close the festival. We will rock you? With that, Queen speak for the whole festival.
WATCH ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL CONCERT 2016 ON MOVIE CHANNEL 462 (Singapore Airlines)
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