A balanced policy
‘Beyond the Pale’ is a fan website whose operators see it as an archive – albeit rather a ramshackle affair – of all kinds of facts and opinions about Procol Harum. On our pages you will find good reviews, bad reviews, facts and fancy, contributed over twelve years by a worldwide readership. And we’ve trusted the readership to make up their own minds about the material presented, in the same way that historians treat a ‘primary source’. The appearance of opinions at ‘Beyond the Pale’ doesn’t mean that the people who made the site endorse them (unless this is specifically indicated in a by-line).
In the matter of the Whiter Shade of Pale lawsuit, our stated position at the outset was one of neutrality. We are not skilled in the law, we weren’t around in 1967, we have no axe to grind (though we very much regret the polarisation of the great record’s fanbase that has resulted from the hearings), and we have no stake in the outcome, one way or the other.
In compiling an archive of reports on the lawsuit, we used as primary sources statements not only from the media but also from people close to the band. Our publication of two letters from Mrs Franky Brooker was intended to add to the sprawling history of Procol Harum that ‘Beyond the Pale’ represents. They flesh out the history of the case, in the same way as the various articles that remain on the website championing Matthew Fisher as a co-writer of the famous song, but which were published before the litigation was announced (to have removed these might have seemed like bias, which we were anxious to avoid).
day before we published the first of Mrs Brooker’s letters, we invited
Matthew Fisher to furnish a statement also. Had Mr Fisher contributed an
opinion, the balance of our coverage might have been enhanced: but he
declined, as is his right. In proceeding with the publication of Mrs
Brooker’s letters, we certainly didn’t wish to compromise the careful
neutrality we hoped to foster, and we didn’t receive any complaints that
we’d done so (perhaps nobody read them?).
We were taken aback to receive a complaint from Matthew Fisher, requesting us to print the apology that follows. On learning that he was upset and hurt by the letters from Mrs Brooker, we removed them from the website; in the same spirit, we publish the following statement.