Back in the summer of 2011, Brian flew over to Tenerife in the Canary Islands to join Tangerine Dream for a one-off space-themed concert and to participate in a panel discussion on the future of space. No doubt, the stars aligned on that trip in such a way that he was able to indulge in and converge his two passions through one event, the Starmus Festival.
His appearance at this “most spectacular science outreach event” also set him up for a series of media interviews including one with Russia Today correspondent, Sophie Shevardnadze, grand-daughter of Eduard Shevardnadze, the former president of Georgia. Multi-talented in her own right, she has a background in classical piano, is fluent in five languages, has competed as a dancer, but still gets called out as a socialite.
As an interviewer, however, she had some of the most intelligent questions prepared for Brian which elicited answers that I have not heard him give before. I think even he was surprised at the breadth of her knowledge about Queen and himself and how she tied it all back to his interest in space. Here is a link to the 12-minute interview on YouTube. To save time, however, here are the paraphrased quotes from Brian that appeared on the screen during the interview:
Three things struck me during the interview:
1) He is amazingly articulate in his answers. He avoids colloquialisms and idioms but employs the occasional metaphor when it’s appropriate for the topic.
2) Whoever strung together the graphics and supporting video clips for this interview got many things wrong. First, Freddie’s name is spelled incorrectly (as seen above) and when they cut to a Queen video clip during Brian’s answer, it is almost always of Freddie. That was the wrong association to make, in my opinion.
3) Brian mentioned that back in the early days of Queen, his dad was secretly tracking their concerts and such by mapping them onto bar graphs. That would be the ultimate collector’s item for me — an infographic based on Queen done by the co-builder of the Red Special. I wonder if Brian still has them . . . hmmm.
Bottom line, I learned more about Brian in these 12 minutes than I have in all the biographies or interviews I’ve seen of him through the years.