Procol Harum

the Pale

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Waiting for Kate Bush

Procol-mentioning quasi-biography

Cathy Frumerman writes to BtP (November 2004)
The rock critic / novelist / playwright John Mendelssohn has a new book appearing in the UK. It's called Waiting for Kate Bush. The book is a clever commingling of a bio of Kate Bush and the fictional account of an underwear model. But wait, there's more. Waiting for Kate Bush has Procol Harum content:

"But I loved having my portable CD player, my earphones, and all of Kate's CDs to listen to. And I did listen to them, in order, replaying several of my favourite tracks multiple times, getting to Constellation of the Heart on The Red Shoes, about which I'd read an amusing story on one of the Katesites I'd surfed a few evenings before.

"Apparently hoping to capture something of its melancholic liturgical atmosphere in You're the One, whose lyrics allude to it, Kate was said to have had an emissary seek out the musician responsible for the re-purposing of Bach in Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale. The emissary had come back not with Matthew Fisher, who'd played the celebrated organ part on Pale,  but with no less than lead singer and piano player Gary Brooker, who'd never been observed, not even at sound checks, not even by his closest friends, to play organ. Hearing him on that track, though (and on Constellation of the Heart), one didn't miss the grumpy, supercilious Fisher in the slightest. One wondered if Kate had ever known she'd been brought the wrong man."

BTW, I read the book and I loved it. How  Lesley Herskovits, the underwear model, however, knew to describe Matthew Fisher as "grumpy and supercilious", a question I'm sure you are all asking, is not stated. Perhaps he, Lesley, is a fanatic of Procol Harum, as well as of Kate Bush, and author Mendelssohn is hinting at his next hybrid of fiction and pop biography. After an enjoyable read like Waiting For Kate Bush, one can only hope.

Here's the synopsis of the book from the Amazon UK site
When Kate Bush came out of nowhere in 1978 with her jaw-droppingly eccentric debut single Wuthering Heights, screeching like a banshee, flapping her arms as though trying to take wing, pulling alarming faces, people either adored or loathed her. One of the former was an American underwear model, Lesley Herskovits, who, in spite of his remarkable good looks, reserved his loathing for himself. By the time Kate had taken to keeping her fans waiting literally ages between albums, he'd found himself a boarding house near Kate's birthplace that accommodated only fervent Kate fans. Only his disinclination to miss her eighth album, after waiting more than a decade for it, kept him from leaping off a multi-storey tower block. In Waiting for Kate Bush - an unusual hybrid of satirical novel and music biography - the reader will not only laugh aloud at Herskovits' attempt to make sense of his life in an alien culture, but also learn in detail what Kate Bush - known alternately as "the barmiest bird in pop", "the Pre-Raphaelite nymph with Minnie Mouse's soprano" and "the greatest artist of the last 30 years" has been up to in the silent decade-plus since the release of her last and best album.

Visit Amazon UK to enjoy the extraordinary indignation of the Kate Bush fans who have reviewed the book!

Matthew Fisher's page at BtP

More anti-Hammond stuff from John Mendelssohn, 1971

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