ENGLISH TRANSLATION italian news article following “Queen in 3-D” book launch
– translation credit: Barbara Mucci
REPUBBLICA.it (original in Italian)
BRIAN MAY, THIS BIO UNLOCKS QUEEN SECRETS “I FOUND SOME PEACE THROUGH THESE MEMORIES
24 May 2017 by Deborah Ameri
The guitarist launched his book Queen in 3-D, in London, full of unpublished stereoscopic pictures telling the most intimate moments of Freddie Mercury and the other members of the band: “A journey not anguishing at all” on Manchester drama [Manchester MEN arena bomb attack]: “No one will stop us because life has to go on”
LONDON – On the small stage of the Century Club in London, Brian May asked for a minute’s silence. Almost dressed in mourning, in black dress except for his white clogs, for a moment he forgot the book he was there to launch and heartily addressed to those attending: “I’m very affected by what happened in Manchester last night. I was thinking of canceling this event but I would have played into the hands of the terrorists who want to stop our lives. Well, they will not succeed”. Then, he attacked politics and the government: “I see people, mostly politicians, who condemn extremism and then the next day they agree to bomb this or that country. As a nation and as people, we are part of the escalating violence in the world. I wish our way of life could change completely and also our priorities could change. Let’s dedicate this minute’s silence to Manchester’s victims and kids those parents who still don’t know if their children are alive”. It was the day after the terrorist attack at Ariana Grande’s concert. The guitarist and founder of Queen was genuinely upset. Especially because he will be playing at the Manchester Arena with the band and the new frontman Adam Lambert in December. “No one will stop us because life has to go on“, he declared.
Then, he shook off all the bitterness to go back to being a rockstar. And launching Queen in 3-D, the first biography about Queen written by a member of the band (in stores on 25th May in the UK, published by EarBooks, and in Italy on 29th September, by Edel Italy).
This is not an ordinary biography, but a story behind the scenes of fifty years of career through May’s memories and more than three hundred unpublished stereoscopic pictures. Stereoscopy is the Victorian ancestor of virtual reality, and May has always been passionate since, at 12, he discovered these three-dimensional images in a biscuit pack. Since then, he has never gone anywhere without one of his stereoscopic cameras. The resulting images seemed out of focus, sometimes insignificant. However, you just need to look at them through the 3-D OWL stereoscope (patented by May and included in the package) to bring them to life, letting those who look at them to being totally engrossed into that image together with those people. The result is an extraordinary journey into the most intimate moments in Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, and Brian May’s lives.
“The most extraordinary moment was when I discovered a photo of Freddie in makeup in the dressing room. I didn’t know that I had it”, said an excited May to Repubblica.it. “He’s completely unaware of being photographed and seems in a world of his own. It’s one of the most beautiful memories that came out while I was writing the book and digging into the archive of my photos“.
There are so many memories like that in the book. Mercury at a salon, under a dryer that seemed to swallow him up (“Here he doesn’t look like the rockstar that everybody knows”), while he was listlessly playing tennis (“He only undertook sports he was good at. He was a table tennis dynamo”), Taylor while playing May’s guitar (“He was good, but luckily for us, he played drums”), Deacon, who, reluctantly, had make-up done for a show. And also air travels, line flying at first and then private, when success had become global; bored selfie in hotel rooms; Freddie on stage, sweaty and excited, in his leotards; behind the scenes of Radio Ga Ga and It’s a Hard Life videos (“We all hated it to death. Freddie only was enthusiastic about it”); the first concert at Madison Square Garden in New York (“I booked two seats on the Concorde for my parents and set them at the Plaza Hotel. For the first time my father, who wanted me to be a scientist, was proud of me”).
And finally, the last show at Wembley Stadium, before Mercury’s death. “At the time, we thought it was really over”, May admitted. “Then came Adam Lambert (who has been performing with the band since 2011). He’s very creative and passionate. We have a lot of fun on tour. It’s clear he’s not an impersonation of Freddie. He’s just himself”.
In the book, May chose to skip the excesses that have been attributed to Queen over the years (“No, you will not find any debauchery”), and in return he mentioned his depression that has been gripping him from the Eighties. Today, he says, he’s better, thanks also to mindfulness and physical activity. “But this trip down memory lane has not been anguishing“, he assured. “It’s quite exciting and also enlightening. I feel lucky, proud, and grateful to have lived those moments, and I realised that sharing these memories with others it’s like I’d found some kind of peace”.