Procol Harum

the Pale

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Danish Society of Procoholics

Minutes of their second meeting

Niels-Erik Mortensen writes,

I promised you an account of yesterday's event, but I've decided to restrain from too many details. Part of the meeting was videotaped, but
unfortunately, the tape ran out before the guest did. But here are parts of Peder Bundgaard's excellent appearance:

Peder Bundgaard told the sad tale of a young man of rural Denmark who decides to go to the capital to become a hippie. The main reason was that he, some time in the year 1967 AD, had listened to the radio. From this came a most peculiar sound, a sound never heard before. A big sound best characterized by being inside a cathedral. Of course, Peder had tuned in to A Whiter Shade of Pale. Now, in a glimpse of Nirvana, he saw his entire existence being explained by an unknown band and an unknown poet. From this time, Peder considered Bob Dylan and Keith Reid his all-time favorites.

Before arriving to Copenhagen, he considered himself the biggest Procol fan in the country. He was wrong. The hippie 'subculture' had indeed embraced Procol Harum. And what does a young boy do in order to get to know His Idols? He finds a few kindred spirits and starts an 'underground rock magazine' - in this case the project was called Wheel. Thus, he was able to move closer to the targets.

Then the truth was leaking out. He did meet Procol and became very friendly with the members. Some of them, at least: "Calling Keith Reid 'reserved' would be a diplomatic understatement", says Peder. But we have ways to make people talk. Peder and his friends had been a trifle frustrated, because the lyrics were not printed on the LP sleeves. Mistakes were very common, such as the song about a man with 'two stones' ('tombstone') and that one about 'the sky who flew up in the sky' ('this guy...') So why not publish all Procol-lyrics in a small book? At first, Keith rejected the idea totally. They were not meant for printing, they gave every sense being sung he did not see the joke.

But the fervent admirers stuck to the idea. And on another occasion, Peder and his friend Erik had Keith cornered. After a Copenhagen gig, the other Procolers had left the concert hall, leaving Keith to Peder's and Erik's mercy. As sharks, they fell over him. Wouldn't he like to join them for a midnight snack and perhaps a few beers at Erik's home? They threw Keith and themselves into a cab and drove.

Buy the book!

At Erik's home, Keith obviously had ceased eating and drinking. But he was sitting just under Erik's giant Dylan-poster, and Peder took a picture of him there. This photo can be seen in Claes's book to-day. But Keith had changed his mind a bit about the book. He promised to talk to 'someone' about the idea. After a while, the butterfly boys wanted a piece of the cake. The Chrysalis management wrote Erik that they had been approached by Keith on the issue. They just wanted to clarify a few facts of life: first, you don't just publish Keith Reid's lyrics without asking; second, Chrysalis would very much like to know how much money the Danish 'publishers' would offer as a down payment.

Oh, horror, oh, despair. There, the idea of publishing the first Procol Harum lyrics book died. Money was not exactly the favorite subject for any hippie in this world. But Peder continued to meet Gary, Keith, Robin and BJ - at least, three of them were witty chaps with whom you could spend an evening over a few pints.

(Further excerpts later.)

But apart from this, we saw pictures and videos from Guildford. Karsten had talked to Gary, Geoff and Matt in the afternoon. As Karsten secured himself Gary's autograph, Gary asked Karsten's daughter if she had any favorites. Conquistador, was her wise answer. But Gary told her that they were not going to do that song that evening - but of course, they did.

Gary was indeed in high spirits that day. Peer and Axel had brought him two gifts, two CDs with some works of the Danish composers Carl Nielsen and Rued Langgard. Peer presented the CDs to him as "Danish propaganda". A moment later, Gary stood with one CD in each hand asking, 'Open sandwiches?'

The crowd - 23 fans - clapped furiously, enjoyed the Guildford video and the Grand Hotel - video and loved Peder's account. Other small items are worth mentioning: We heard the song Shadow of a Gypsy (1971) by Ache, the Danish equivalent to Procol. This band published two essential albums, the rock ballet De Homine Urbano and Green Man, now both reissued on CD. We introduced tracks from One More Time and Liquorice John Death and I had the opportunity to play a little 'Musical Joke', based on a string of Procol-songs. As no traitors were around, we didn't serve any rum - but a lot of rum tales. Thank you everybody - especially to Peder...our multi-lingual business friend.

More fan-organisations

About the Guildford 2000 Palers' Convention

More Danish Procoholic Frolics


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