Who the hell does Brian May think he is?

The Queen guitarist doubted reports that foxes attacked twin babies, reacted angrily to his critics, and now threatens to quit the UK unless we can all behave

He is rock royalty, though his Queen days are behind him. He is worth an estimated £70m and he shares a suitably splendid home (and, let this be true, hair curlers) with his second wife, the actress Anita Dobson, in a grassy part of Surrey where summer fêtes, village greens and horticultural shows are a way of life. He has a PhD in astrophysics and more than a passing interest in Victorian stereoscopic photography. But how does Brian May, 62, choose to pass his time, these days? By shooting his mouth off before he is in full possession of the facts, that's how.

It is, of course, one of the hazards of new media that we can all tweet and status-update faster than we can say: "Hmmm, maybe I should think this through." But May had time to consider his latest outburst. Nine-month-old twins Lola and Isabella Koupparis were attacked by a fox at their Hackney home at 10pm on Saturday 5 June. May held off until the Monday to post the following on his "Save Me" Facebook page dedicated to all things cute and cuddly. "Fox attacks babies?" he wrote under the heading "Brian's Soapbox". "Sure! And monkeys will fly... out of my butt. Ha ha. And I suppose there is proof?!!!"

Erm, try bite marks and the fact that one of the twins has bruising consistent with the mother's story that the fox had tried to pull the baby out of her cot through the bars. Oh, and the photograph that one of the first police officers to arrive at the scene took on his mobile phone of a fox at the family's patio doors.

The Sun was quick to point out that May "appeared to accuse the devastated Koupparis family of lying", but child protection is not May's thing. The protection of animals is. And he is starting to give it the kind of attention he used to reserve for the guitar solo in "We Will Rock You".

He quickly followed up that first post not with an apology, but with an entry entitled "HEAVY HEART" that, while it did concede that "our hearts go out to the two little children", soon found its real cause for concern: "Our country," he wrote – or "ranted" as the red-top press would have it – "is now run by a set of animal-hating people, already straining at the leash, slavering with a lust to kill and cause pain to animals. And now this. One very questionable case ... no proof, no trial. And suddenly half of the country is after blood."

Because May's increasingly monomaniacal behaviour is centred around the belief that the new government is actually nothing more than a front for the Countryside Alliance and is capitalising on this story to repeal the anti-hunting law as a matter of some urgency.

That the Lib-Con coalition seems to have more pressing matters on its hands does not fool May. In fact, in the run-up to the general election, he was running a campaign that he called "Bollocks to the Economy" wherein he got a selection of his showbiz pals – Francis Rossi of Status Quo, the astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, the Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and, er, a Nolan sister – to turn to camera and say the word "bollocks".

May had already had a run-in or two before the election, not least with David Parsons, leader of Leicestershire County Council, who, in a letter to the Leicester Mercury newspaper had written that "people in rural communities are not going to take lectures from a cosseted London rock star". May, and this will surprise no one, was quick to reply. "I live in the country too, you ignorant man. I know exactly what I am talking about." And, in case Parsons should think he was getting personal, May added: "You are a disgrace to your office. Countryside tradition, my arse. If you ever come within sniffing distance of me I'll have your guts for garters, you pathetic, arrogant, jumped-up, snivelling little dweeb."

Such people skills were little in evidence in May's glory days. Back then there was Freddie Mercury to steal the limelight. In his absence, May has occasionally felt the need to dust off the hits and take to the road with the blues singer Paul Rodgers on vocals. Such occasions really give May the chance to shine. In 2008, he opened a show at the temporary Wembley Arena Pavilion with the following: "We all deeply apologise for this godforsaken shit heap of a building ... but we are going to make it rock!"

And rock they no doubt did. Though such opportunities may soon be in short supply. Because in a post on Save Me a couple of days ago, May appeared to have had enough, reflecting on the aftermath of the fox attacks as an "appalling climate of fear and lies and propaganda and cruelty and insanity". Later, as he got into his slightly scary stride, he asked: "Where is God? How come the bad guys, the cruel guys, are now getting all the breaks? For God's sake, we are now ruled by them. I am seriously beginning to wonder at times if I can go on living in this country."

To which the response could possibly be: "Bri, animals are lovely and all, and most of this country loves them disproportionately, as you do. But if you feel this is worth leaving the country over, don't let anyone stop you now."

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)


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