I’m writing this during Hanukkah, but by the time this post is up, it won’t be Hanukkah anymore.
My husband, Eoin, bought me Queen in 3D because I couldn’t stop banging on about Queen after BoRhap. I conducted a poll on Twitter about whether or not I should write a review and everyone said yes, so guess what we’re doing? I’m reviewing the Bo Rhap/Queen “manga”, so to speak.
My meme below:
Inside the same box as Queen in 3D was a toy hedgehog, which I’ve named Galileo. What a coincidence, since Brian May advocates for hedgehogs (and badgers and a lot of other animals).
Eoin and I have a bunch of inside jokes about Queen and BoRhap. I always feel the need to nickname people so I was thinking about which Queen members we’re most like. Eoin calls me Deaky because I’m socially awkward, play bass (I’m shite though), I like disco and soul music, and I’m sassy. I call Eoin, Bri or Hedgehog Mum (some nickname for Brian May I saw on Queen stan twitter) because he’s a physics PhD student (not astrophysics, but whatever), he’s really sweet, is a vegetarian, and plays guitar (about as well as I play bass but whatever).
I’m not gonna bore you so let’s talk about the book already!
Queen in 3D
There are two versions of the book. The older version was released in 2017 and comes with a slipcase with a 3D hologram of Freddie Mercury on it. The OWL 3D viewer is a bit different from the one in the newer version. It’s yellow, folds, and comes in a small case.
There’s a new version, released this year with pictures from the movie. The new version doesn’t have the fancy slipcase with the 3D hologram, it’s white instead of black, and the OWL viewer is smaller and sits in a holder in the back of the book. On Amazon, it’s a good bit cheaper than the original, so we got this one instead.
I like the metallic text on the front and the picture of Freddie is perfect. A nice presentation. Open the book and there’s a picture of Brian May sitting with his guitar at a concert outside raising his fist in the air.
In the table of contents, you’ll see that it’s pretty comprehensive with pictures spanning from Brian’s childhood to pictures from the production of Bohemian Rhapsody. You’ll also see that it’s not just going to talk about Queen, but also about photography. Perfect for me because I love photography and Queen.
There’s a nice little preface and it has character and gives credit to all the people who helped realise this project. The most beautiful quote: “Queen’s music has crossed all barriers of age, race, colour, and creed since the time we got together around 1970 and decided precociously, that we would change the world!” And how they did!
Queen aren’t your garden variety rock band and this isn’t some ordinary picture biography. You can enjoy the stereoscopic images as they are printed on the page, but why? The real experience is seeing the images pop out of the page. Brian May said that looking through the viewer is like looking through a window into Queen’s life. Make sure the book is well lit so you can best enjoy it.
The History of 3D Photography
In this chapter, you’ll find out, in Brian May’s own words, how his love for photography began, how it all works, and his humble beginnings in photography. This part is well supplemented with his early 3D photos and pictures of the equipment he used.
What’s really stuck out to me is how DIY his life was because Harold, Brian’s father, was really handy and could figure out anything. Queen fans already know that the Red Special is DIY, but so were these early 3D photos. Harold set up a darkroom in the house and that’s where these pictures were developed.
I do feel lucky that I started doing photography in the digital age because I’m clumsy and make heaps of mistakes. This book reminds me of all the not so great things of film photography: no instant results, wasted film because of accidents, and there’s a limit to how many pictures you can take.
Brian May also liked to doodle in his spare time. During Physics Practical class, he drew 3D stereoscopic images. During university, he bought is first SLR to take pictures of the stars. Before Queen took off, life was hectic: as a PhD student he was doing research and teaching maths by day and by night he was writing songs and performing with Smile, later to become Queen. How he managed all that, I don’t know. Eoin is a PhD student and he comes home exhausted every day.
In the next section of photography, he goes over the equipment used to take the pictures in the Queen years. I have no idea about these types of cameras since I’m a basic bitch that has a DSLR and an iPhone, that’s it. If I want to be fancy, I put crystals or my sunglasses in front of the lenses. I am getting an Instax soon so that should be fun! More on that in future posts.
The cameras are really neat: There’s the 1947 Stereo Realist and the Iloca Rapid. These aren’t for beginners: you gotta get the aperture, shutter speed, and focus just right. They’re also not easy to find. Thankfully Brian explains how you can do it yourself with any camera using the rocking technique. Maybe I’ll give it a try one of these days.
The Main Event
Get ready for 45 years of Queen history from 1973 to 2018 with the making of Bohemian Rhapsody. Because of a pesky little thing called copyright, I can’t post scans from the book, but you can find them elsewhere on the internet. So my descriptions will have to do.
The pictures are beautifully printed and lots of information is given. You’ll see stuff from concerts, being on the road, recording albums, life at home, and some of Bri’s MySpace worthy (if MySpace were a thing then) selfies. It’s awesome that they always brought 3D cameras with them on tour. Usually someone on their promotion team got the shots.
With this Lite OWL 3D viewer you have to do a bit more moving around and figuring out the optimal distance to see the image pop out of the page.
Make sure the book is well lit and on a flat surface. Once you get it right, it’s really cool to see. It’s like you’re looking through a window and seeing the depth in the image and seeing it come to life.
Accompanying the pictures are stories behind them and commentary about the pictures or stuff in the pictures, which really add to the experience. Lots of stories behind the tours in America, Japan, Latin America, and Europe. Side note: My mother is from Venezuela, a country often skipped by big international acts. Queen were one of the few major British acts that played in Caracas – really cool! Sadly, no one in my family went to that concert, but I’m sure they would have loved to have gone. Also on a sad note, I don’t see any mention of their Venezuelan concerts.
The stories I found most interesting were the ones from Japan, the fans were enthusiastic – giving lots of gifts to the band and the band were fascinated with the country – purchasing lots of clothes and gadgets. The song “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)” was inspired by their tours in Japan.
Being a vegan, looking through the book, I liked seeing Brian talking about how some things that Queen wore or did weren’t the most animal friendly (that’s pretty woke, as the kids like to say). Even 10 or 15 years ago I didn’t know a lot about animal rights. There wasn’t as much of an awareness or access to information about it. Also the meat and dairy industries lobby governments.
I’ll definitely be writing a post about vegetarian and vegan rock stars next month because it’s Veganuary.
As for the Bo Rhap movie 3D pictures, it was really cool to see those and I’m glad I got this version. Gwilym Lee and Joe Mazzello look so much like Brian and Deaky that if the pictures were grainier and you hid anything that was obviously modern, I would have a difficult time telling them apart from the real Brian and Deaky.
All in all, it’s an enjoyable read, cool to display on a coffee table, and love all the pictures and the first person point of view commentary. Also loved seeing the connections between the different people who worked with Queen, what other bands recorded in the same studios, and who else they toured or were friends with. Classic rock really is a small world, not many degrees of separation between musicians. For the most part, what I’ve found is that classic rockers really have a lot of respect for one another.
I loved seeing the pictures from around the world. Although I haven’t been everywhere, I kept looking at all the places in America, Canada, and Europe and saying I’ve been there! The more and more I look at the 3D pictures, the cooler it is. I can definitely see myself picking this up again and again. Overall, a beautiful presentation. If you’re like me, a Queen fan who loves photography, pick up this book. And if you’re not or you don’t want to spend the money, go get it from your local library!
Shout out to my good friend and Topaz level Patron, Patrick.
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