Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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From Pam Quinn's scrapbook

Portraits of Gary Brooker


There's a house-proud quality to this room, with its polished Bush radiogramme, its modish ashtray by no means ashfilled. The Venetian blind would possibly have been a bit of an innovation too.

Long before he issues an LP himself, Gary surveys the sleeve of a long-player he's listening to, part of a reasonably modest collection including at least one Bach album by the look of it, and several EPs or 45s. Closer scrutiny reveals the wording on some of the spines: High Society, 10 Guitars Visit Hawaii, Me and My Shadows, Songs for Swinging Lovers, two Sinatra titles, I Wanna be Bobby's Girl, and something by Julie London.

With its high auto-changing spindle and its restricted access, this kind of cabinet made it quite hard to put records on without handling the playing surface, and without risk of scratching it.

Is this what they mean by 'making bedroom eyes'? Net curtains and the teapot on a doilied tray lend a hotel-ish ambience. Gary stirs his tea, while looking at the photographer in the mirror, on reflection.

The photos are all beautifully exposed and there is evidence of a studio light rather than flash, in the heavy shadow and the muted reflection in the polished wardrobe.

The scratches on this photo look very deliberate, perhaps signifying that someone, Gary himself perhaps, didn't like it.

It's easy to see why, since there is a disproportionate vista of stripy sock, and the contemplative pose accidentally masks one of the classical pinups that were no doubt intended to lend gravitas to the whole effect.

On first glance they seem to be pinned to the wall, but in fact it looks like a moveable panel of some sort, suggesting that this photo-session was a planned, rather than a spontaneous, affair.

One is reminded of Lewis Carroll's wonderful poem, Hiawatha's Photographing (do go and read it here) (RC)

At least the shoes aren't laced up wrong! (MC)

'... and the picture failed completely ...' (LC)

Pam doesn't remember anything particular from the furnishings in this sequence, but the twin beds made her think of the room shared by Barrie and his brother Richard. Frans Steensma feels that the sequence from which these pictures come was ' probably made at Barrie's house in Derby Road, Ponders End.'

Me And My Shadows was a highly succesful Cliff Richard album from 1960, Songs For Swinging Lovers a Frank Sinatra album from 1958, I Wanna Be Bobby's Girl a Top Three hit single in the US for Marcie Blane (18 years old) at the end of 1962 and Julie London a very famous US singer / actress (born 1926) who had a big hit in 1955 with Cry Me A River. (Thanks, Frans: more from him here)


BJ's page at BtP

More from Pam Quinn's scrapbook


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