Brian May: Vibrant Family Man and Political Savior
Despite his workload, Brian could easily pass for 50. His hands are slim and lithe. His teeth are great. His face is soft and smooth. ‘It’s all the plastic surgery,’ he jokes. ‘Not really. I think it’s cold showers — I’m a massive advocate — and lack of sleep, of course.’
He was always clean-living. While Freddie Mercury was snorting cocaine off silver trays strapped to the heads of hermaphrodite dwarves, Brian said a polite ‘no thank you’. ‘Most people around me were trying everything but I never took drugs, not even cannabis. It became a sort of experiment on myself, to be the control rat.
‘I never minded anyone else doing it, but I knew that everything I was experiencing was real. I was high on music. And I never smoked, either. But I do love vodka.’
Right now, though, he’s explaining — very politely, and without raising his voice, because as well as being the most beautifully spoken rock legend in the world, he’s also the politest — just how much he loathes David Cameron.
‘I am very, VERY much not a fan.’
They met once, briefly, in the corridors of Parliament, when Brian was campaigning against badger culling.
‘He’s very affable. Very charming. He stopped and said: “Oh, hi Brian, don’t worry about the badgers, they’ll be fine.”
‘Fine?’ He flicks the magnificent grey Louis XIV mane back over his shoulders in dignified disgust. ‘That’s a very telling remark. It was very pleasant on the face of it, but very condescending.’
Brian has a lot to say about Cameron.
‘To me, he’s a pillar of everything wrong: privilege, elitist Eton clique, no empathy. He has taken Britain back to something close to feudalism. That’s the sort of thing we want to change.’
‘We’ are Brian and his colleagues at Common Decency, the political revolution he launched last month with the help of a vast billboard in South London, emblazoned with the words: ‘You have one voice — one vote — use it!’
He does, though, have a massive fortune and homes in Surrey and London. So how does this sit with his hatred of privilege and elitism?
‘It’s not a question of how much money you’ve got and how many houses,’ he insists. ‘It’s that certain people are unfairly rich and powerful and never worked for it. We should all have equal opportunities.’
But did Brian, at the last general election, do as he is now urging everyone else to do, and vote?
‘No! Oh dear. I was so busy telling everyone else to vote that I forgot myself. It’s terrible.’
He claims his oversight is what motivated him this time.
‘I’m not an apathetic man. I work night and day to change the world. But I knew I was in a safe seat [Kensington and Chelsea, which has always had a Tory MP] and I forgot. This time I will vote but I haven’t decided, yet, who for.’
Suddenly he looks a bit tired.
‘Some people think I’m very naive and maybe I am. How can I change the world in 40 days?’
But he also sees this as his responsibility.
‘I’m no Mother Teresa, but I try to make the world a better place.
‘Perhaps this will be my work for the rest of my life. Though I’m hoping I can relax a bit after the election and spend more time with Anita, my kids and grandchildren.’
Brian May is a good, kind, clever man who, besides selling 200 million records, has dedicated much of his life to doing good, kind things.
There's one for you, nineteen for me
Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all