Brian May ['KLOS Radio, 05.05.2008] Parte 1/6
L'intervista è tratta da un programma radiofonico trasmesso da Radio Klos 95.5 in data 5 maggio 2008.
Questa è la prima delle sei parti che troverete in su questo sito.
[leggi la parte 1/6 in italiano]
Brian May dropped into the studios of 95.5 KLOS Radio last evening (5 May),
in Los Angeles for a chat with Cynthia Fox and Jim Ladd, on Jim's show.
JIM LADD: This is 95.5 KLOS Los Angeles. I'm very happy to welcome two very talented people, each in
their own right. First, ladies first.
CYNTHIA FOX: Oh dear.
JL: Hello Cynthia Fox.
CF: Hello Mr Ladd.
JL: How are you?
CF: I'm good.
JL: Good. Thank you for arranging all this.
CF: Oh, thank you. No - we're invading your show, so...
JL: Would yo like to introduce our guest?
CF: Yes, I very much would. I think we're very very lucky and very honoured to have as a guest and as a friend to a lot
of us here at KLOS, a man who is, let's see, Commander of the British Empire, the newly appointed Chancellor of Liverpool
University, he just earned his PhD in Astrophysics, is about to release a brand-new album in the fall and has announced a
European tour that sold out in what, an hour? And...
JL: Oh my God.
CF: ... has many many other fantastic credits to his name also. Going to have to talk to him a lot about all these different
ventures, we're very very pleased to welcome to KLOS, right here live in the studio, Dr Brian May, guitarist of Queen!
JL: Welcome. Well done. (clapping)
BRIAN MAY: I've never ever
had such a glowing introduction in my life.
CF: Oh, it should happen more often.
BM: I'm honoured. I just got
driven across town by the lovely Cynthia Fox, so I'm a happy man.
JL: Fine, fine.
BM: I'm fine. I'm just very
JL: That was quite the introduction and all of that true. She didn't even make any of that up, did she?
BM: (Chuckles) No. No, Cynthia
Fox does not make stuff up.
JL: You have a brand-new book out, that I've been reading and I'm just fascinated by it, called "Bang! The Complete History
of the Universe"?
JL: Tell us who you wrote that with, Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, and tell us more about those guys and what
BM: Oh, I'd love to. Yeah,
Patrick Moore is "Mr Astronomy" in England. It's a pity he's not really known over here, but he's the host of the longest-running
TV show in any country in the world with one presenter. Fifty years he's been presenting The Sky At Night, and I used to see
it when I was a kid. I used to plead to be allowed to stay up and watch it, 'cos it's on quite late. And he's been running
that show on Astronomy all that time and it's just him. He's an amazing, amazing guy. He's 84 years old now and he still does
every show himself, with a little help, but... So he was such a mentor of mine so it's... and it's really Patrick who - Sir
Patrick Moore he is - he's Sir Patrick...
JL: But then who isn't?
JL: In [your?] country, please.
BM: There aren't that many,
I can tell you.
JL: Okay. (Cynthia laughs)
BM: But it was he who said,
"Look Brian, you could really do your PhD. You could come back and do it. Why don't you?" and I sort of laughed in the beginning,
but eventually I did, as you know - went back to Imperial College and signed on again as a PhD student after an absence of
35 years, and actually after, I mean, I'm cutting a long story short, but managed to write it up in a year. It was a tough
year. It really was tough and I wanted to do it for real. So Patrick Moore is one... is the 'Elder Statesman' of this group
- The Bang! Trio - and the 'Younger Statesman' is Chris Lintott, who is a young whizz kid - Cambridge and Oxford - and he's
a Cosmologist; very much at the forefront. He founded a website called 'Galaxy Zoo'. I don't know if you guys know about it...
BM: ... but it's a fantastic
thing where the public can actually do some serious astronomy, by logging on and making eye adjustments - sorry, eye 'evaluations'
- of galaxies. It's like a game. It's like a video game. You log on and you'll be presented with a picture of a galaxy. You're
told how to classify. You're given a little course on how to do it. It takes about 5 minutes, and then you hit buttons according
to what you think that galaxy is, whether it's a spiral, whether it's a (bar?) spiral, whether it's an elliptical or whatever.
And if it's a spiral you press a button to show whether it's going clockwise or anti-clockwise, right. Now it seems a silly
idea, but actually it turns out that people are very much better at doing this kind of thing than computers. They can see
through sort of fuzziness and make out shapes. So it's been a really valuable piece or Astronomy, and he's just been proposed
for a special prize from the Royal Society, in London, for his work. I mean, the great, one of the great things about it is
that it's involved a huge amount of people in the public and brought people into Astronomy, which we're all trying to do,
this kind of outreach thing. So he's, Chris Lintott is quite a whizz kid and a...
JM: That's fantastic.
BM: ... great astronomer. So
the three of us - I wasn't. I'm the guy who came in and sat between them, and, in the beginning I said I would only do an
editing job, but actually I got caught up in it and we wrote the thing together, word by word, sentence by sentence.
JL: And your field of expertise is Radio Astronomy? Is that correct?
BM: No, not really. I was in
an Infrared Astronomy department...
JL: Infrared Astronomy.
BM: ... but I actually didn't
do Infrared Astronomy. It's a strange event, the way things happened. I actually was the only person in the department who
wasn't doing Infrared. I was doing Optical Spectrometry.
BM: And I was looking for -
if you want me to tell you - (laughs) stop me if it gets boring...
BM: ... I was looking for Doppler
shifts in the light reflected from dust in the solar system, with the object of doing a dynamical study; seeing where it was
going, how fast it was going, perhaps trying to find out where it came from, where it's going, etc, so that's, that was my
thesis - looking at the Motions of Interplanetary Dust.
JL: Right, before I just take up all your time, you [to Cynthia] ask a question,cos if I...
BM: That's enough of that.
Let's talk about rock 'n' roll.
CF: Oh, yes - well. What I think is so fascinating about Brian is he's got, obviously. one part of him very very well
established in the academic world and one part of him in the rock world, and it just seems to work, and it's a remarkable
story because you have so much credibility in both worlds and so much respect, and I think people do look on what you've accomplished
with your PhD, and this is the for real deal...
BM: People scratch their heads
and think "What the hell is he doing?"
CF: But this is not an Honorary, this is an actual achievement...
CF: Yeah, and so and I think people have a great deal of respect and I think that through this book, people will have
an even deeper appreciation of where we are in the Universe; how fragile, how special, our little planet is, and photography
that you've included in the book is really outstanding. You look around and think, "How can this be? How can this be - so
many wonders, in the world... outside the world. "
BM: It's meant to, yeah, it
is meant to connect in that. Thank you for saying that. It is meant to connect with people in that way. It's like the 'awesome
wonder' of the Universe. And you won't find any mathematics in the book, although we deal with all the concepts. We don't
avoid any of the difficult concepts, but we try to speak about them in plain English, and in a logical, chronological order,
so it's an actual... It is, I mean, there was a slight tongue-in-cheek about, you know, 'the Complete History of the Universe'.
(laughing) It's a little arrogance there, but it is an attempt to actually present a history in the order in which it happened.
Now I don't think that's been done before in a book on Cosmology. Usually it's about look at this, look at this, and then
look at the history of the 'discovery' of these things, but we're looking - we didn't allow ourselves to do that. We rigidly
stuck to the order in which things happened in the evolution after the Big Bang.
JL: And by the way, thank you even though you are from England, for using miles and not metres, (BM and CF laugh) - cos
I get so tired of trying to ... 'what the hell'. Okay, thank you for doing that.
BM: Thank you.... well, us
old people need to cling to these things.
JL: God bless you.
BM: I can't think in metres.
I really can't - far less in millimetres. It's a very impractical measure for planning your route over the country, isn't
JL: Well we got a lot to talk about. Can I play a song, kind of regroup...
CF: Oh yes, sure. My goodness.
JL: I wanna bring a light in here for you and.... My guest tonight is Brian May and the lovely Cynthia Fox. We're talking
about his book 'Bang! The Complete History of the Universe'. You're listening to 95.5 KLOS.
PLAYS TRACK: "SPREAD YOUR WINGS"
JL: A great song from Queen. It's called "Spread Your Wings". My guest tonight, Brian May, lead guitarist from Queen,
obviously, and now Doctorate Brian May - how cool is that? - and Cynthia Fox is here. We're going to continue with talking
to them about this new book, "Bang! The Complete History of the Universe'. Brian will be signing the book tomorrow at Book
Soup on Sunset at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and we'll tell you all about that. We've got a new song that Fox brought in,
which, I don't think it's been played anywhere else, has it?
CF: I don't know.
JL: What do you know, Cynthia? Swear to God.
CF: Not much. When you're sitting next to Dr Brian May, you realise.... (pause) not so much.
CF: Don't know so much.
JL: See, being blonde and beautiful will take you so far in life. (Cynthia laughs) Could you do some research, for God's