Procol Harum

the Pale

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Gary Brooker's medical progress, 2021

Bulletins, as we have them

As you know I asked Geoff Whitehorn to make me a guitar as I didn’t have one !

This is it on the day (11 July) when he delivered it. I chose the setup and the non-colour and it uses a lightweight body. It’s a beautiful thing!

I am dressed for the soccer match that evening as a loyal follower of the Iceni, but joined the rest of the land in a very sad end to the day. The guitar was the saving grace!

Gary sends his best wishes to all who visit and trust that their ears are open and working and the ‘big speakers’ are on.

Shining 'thru
Gary Brooker
7 August 2021                                                                                                                                       (photo by Barry Sinclair)

Gary Brooker was recuperating on 29 May, not to be disturbed. The following morning BtP asked him how it had been, spending his birthday in hospital.

‘I’ve never not had a good birthday, until now. All in all it’s a bit of a strange time, spending it like this. After all I’ve had accidents, but I’ve never been unwell before, with two surgeons battling in my insides to fit stents before I came round. I wasn’t supposed to have visitors but I told them it was my birthday – and I had a new record out – so they did allow Franky to come in.’

And how had he been spending the time?

‘I’ve been reading a bit. Television is just terrible, even with the sound off. A choice of idiocy and … more idiocy. I mostly spend the time looking forward to being home, eating through my mouth again. I lost my sense of taste in South Africa, but I can still look forward to something with texture, a bit crunchy.’

We related to Gary all the good wishes sent in by ‘Beyond the Pale’ readers. He appreciated ‘all the good vibes coming in across the waves’. We also mentioned that various fans had posted greetings for him on Facebook, perhaps not realising they wouldn’t reach him. ‘Please say I would enjoy them if I saw them,’ he said.

Fans will be heartened to learn, even from so brief a conversation, that the fighting spirit and sense of humour have not deserted The Commander.

Procol Harum fans will be delighted to learn that Gary Brooker – whose indisposition was announced at ‘Beyond the Pale’ on 3 May – continues to do well.

In a phone call this morning (27 May) BtP learns that a stent procedure has gone to plan, allowing him to eat in the normal way (‘it’s like a motorway slip-road into the guts’), and that a touch of jaundice has been averted thanks to a bile-duct intervention. Gary's in excellent spirits, looking forward to returning home in a few days’ time. [In a follow-up e-mail he asserts that 'I am the Missing Person' (in the manner of  ‘I am Spartacus’), and signs off as 'Gary Two-Stents'.]

There is, however, another ‘knife-and-fork job’ in the offing, so the band feels obliged to let fans know that the prospect of Procol gigs this side of Christmas is faint. We all wish Gary and Franky the best, and of course BtP will keep fans posted as and when there’s anything to add to this brief, but encouraging, bulletin.


Procol dates in 2021 | Buy the 2021 EP by clicking this link

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