CP's confident position on Camel's planned Harbour of Tears tour in 1996 was somewhat shaken as Camel encountered numerous obstacles which prevented the band from getting back on the road as previously expected. A surprise announcement from keyboardist Mickey Simmonds set the first obstacle. Following drummer Paul Burgess' decision to quit the road pending the birth of his child, Mickey also wanted to spend more time with his two young children and decided to join The Rutles, an imitation Beatles group. Paul and his wife, Carol Ann, are now the proud parents of a healthy baby boy, Christian. CP sends hearty congratulations to them both!
Since Mickey's unexpected departure, attempts to reschedule Camel's tour for later in '96 proved impossible due to scheduling conflicts between the relevant band members and the dates available from promoters.
Disappointment in calling off the tour for 1996 was felt by all who have been waiting for more positive news. Rumours have been circulating for months. Susan Hoover responded: "Please remember, a rumour is a rumour and nothing more. Until a date is confirmed by Camel Productions, it is absolutely not reliable." CP's concern that fans would make travel plans or arrange to take time off work grew steadily with rumours of fictitious tour dates. Eventually, CP elected to delay until the musicians' schedules were more compatible, allowing plenty of time to produce a show Camel would be proud of.
A tour is based on a circle of events that must link up to create a whole. Camel's agent Paul Boswell reserves performance dates at various venues in different countries and then begins the difficult job of linking the dates to create a steady stream of performances that flow into one another. Dates are shuffled like playing cards in the preliminary stages. If one country's available dates conflict with another, the 'cards' may be shuffled again to obtain a more fluid, economical pattern so the band aren't traversing the globe in a zig-zag fashion. It is imperative for Camel to perform at every possible opportunity, both for financial and artistic reasons. Dates can be shuffled as late as two weeks before the actual performance as was the case with Camel's German promoter on the 1992 tour. This causes upset all around and CP try to avoid these last-minute changes but it's not always possible. It is, after all, only rock and roll.
Andrew Latimer is arranging the set for Camel to tour in early 1997. As The Nature of the Beast goes to press, Camel have no confirmed performances. CP will announce the tour dates when they are confirmed. Rumours are not reliable.
IF NOT WHEN, WHO?
The 17-year friendship and partnership of Andrew Latimer and Colin Bass remains steadfast. Camel's demanding role as keyboardist will be filled by Foss Patterson. A charming Scotsman with impressive ability, Foss has played with FISH (déjà vu?) and singer-song-writer, John Martyn as well as writing music for the BBC.
CP waits patiently to see if Paul Burgess will continue to prefer a quieter family life to the more erratic and pressured life of a musician. Until Paul has given Camel the final word, his drum stool waits. Camel's line-up will be announced at the same time as tour dates.
Navigating the massive beaurocracy that is the British Broadcasting Corporation (the B.B.C.) has proved futile. The disappointing news as "...Beast" goes to press is that CP will not be releasing the anticipated BBC video footage so optimistically reported in earlier issues of CP's newsletters. Unbeknownst to CP there are numerous copyright owners to varying aspects of the footage. Contacting these individuals to negotiate releases and licenses has been frustrating and completely without resolution. CP may be thwarted but we are not defeated. For now, acquiring the rights to Camel's BBC series video footage will be considered temporarily stalled.
CP has received numerous letters asking us to reproduce t-shirts from Camel's past. The greatest demand has come for Moonmadness, (1976) so CP has decided to offer Moonmadness t-shirts in limited supply. The inclusion of merchandise is dependent entirely upon a steady flow of orders. It is a delicate balancing act but CP is always keen to offer what fans want. Moonmadness t-shirts will launch our Nostalgia concept on a trial basis and are now available.
In 1995 CP acquired a new computer database system which allocated a 'customer' number to make each registration unique. In the Autumn 1995 issue, CP proudly announced this new inclusion. Immediately, the computer had a different idea and bypassed all US and Canadian fans! CP subsequently received a small flood of letters expressing great disappointment in not having a customer number. However, despite this technological mutiny, each fan does have one and it can be found after the last name on the mailing label. CP asks everyone to include their customer number in all communications.
Our apologies to our 1996 newcomers for the lengthy period of time it may have taken to receive a first newsletter. The release of Harbour of Tears produced a near avalanche of response but due to temporary staff shortages, data entry of these new registrations fell behind.
CP does not yet have an Official Web Site, however Camel is fortunate to have several independent, unofficial Web Sites run by dedicated fans. CP's only involvement is to monitor accuracy. Camel business cannot be conducted from these sites, but they are interesting and great fun. Check out the following three sites:
Andrew Latimer's first gig, circa 1964 with older brother Ian
in the background (Photo by Stan Latimer)
On a Personal Note....
For the past two years, CP has produced only one newsletter a year. This is because, in 1996, we reached 10,000 fan registrations in our database! CP celebrates this accomplishment and as we continue to offer Camel's newsletter without charge, an annual publication is more financially feasible. Upcoming tour dates will be announced on a post card.
We always hope you will choose to do some seasonal shopping with us so please get orders in quickly. CP will be closed from 15th December through 15th January
In closing, Camel and all at CP extend our grateful thanks for your generous support. whether you do or do not celebrate this time of year, we wish you all health, happiness and peace always.
Edited by Salanarah Cook