Procol Harum

the Pale

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Dave Ball tells his tale …

Here’s the whole of one of the extracts BtP is previewing

Toujours L’Amour - Osaka

Those of you familiar with PH music may recall a tune called Toujours L’Amour. It is a hopelessly romantic song and we decided that it deserved to have a cocktail drink named after it. So, in our hotel in Osaka with a willing barman, fully stocked bar, no expense limit and some of the most dedicated drinkers the British Isles could throw up we set to the task. Over drinks, (well we were in a bar after all) we decided on the base for the cocktail. This was a purple unction called Parfait Amour. It is made by Bols and is a delicate purple colour (actually the same as methylated spirit but that doesn’t sound too romantic). We agreed that the accompanying liqueur should be clear which really brought the choice down to Vodka, Bacardi, Gin or Tequila. We may have toyed with sake or some fierce Polish spirit but we had in mind the romance of the drink and the availability. So it ended up with Vodka. Two shots Parfait; two shots Vodka. So far so good. Now for the refinements. We decided on the top-up first I believe. 7-Up was the perfect additive. We tried various fruit juices and other lemonades but for some reason 7-up just fitted the bill. Crushed ice, but not too much, a slice of lemon, but still something extra required. After much trial and error a splash of Kirsch topped the drink off perfectly. So that is the recipe. Tall glass, small amount of crushed ice and a slice of lemon, 2 x Parfait Amour; 2 x Vodka (Stolichnaya is the best); splash of Kirsh and topped with 7-up. Stirred.

Sounds easy and it took you all of about 30 seconds to read about it, but let me tell you, we worked damned hard on that drink. In the process, we had to sample all the trial versions – too numerous to mention. It literally took us hours. We were one sorry-looking rock and roll band by this time and a show was looming up. There’s that Oops again.

The icing on the cake for this night of woe was BJ had found some Americans on R&R from Vietnam in the hotel. They had some wacky weed straight off the front lines that we were invited to sample.

The band that turned up for the first of two nights in Osaka were a bunch of smiling idiots. What should have been an hour long set took us the best part of an hour and a half. Everything was played at a leisurely pace as befitted our addled states, and we played Bringing Home the Bacon twice and would have done it a third time had not Derek thrown something at Gary’s head when he started the piano intro again. We received a bollocking the length of Hamlet from Derek when we came off, though I doubt whether we really heard him. Fortunately, the next night's performance was all in order as we were all sober. Good job really because it was televised.

Dave Ball's page at BtP

More excerpts of the Ball autobiography


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