Friars goes to Princes
David and I had the bright idea of doing a Friars gig in Risborough.
Well it seemed like a bright idea at the time. After all David had
grown up in the town and his mother was still living there. We had
already done Friars dates in Bedford, Dunstable and Watford and they had
been reasonably successful. Indeed, the Pink Floyd date in Dunstable
had been phenomenally successful. Risborough had an apparently suitable
venue in the shape of the British Legion Hall, next to the Post Office
in Bell Street. Admittedly the Hall was upstairs but then whatís a few
stairs matter when there are fit roadies to carry the gear?
So it was that
on Tuesday October 6th 1970 Genesis were booked to play. By
that time the band had played many times in Aylesbury and Bedford and
had built up a big following. There seemed to be plenty of Friars
members living in Risborough, many of them would be guitarists! So,
even on a Tuesday this seemed a very solid gig. However, we had
reckoned without the reactionary attitudes of the upright citizens of
Princes Risborough! They were appalled by the idea of a Friars night
being held in their town. I seem to remember that an anti Friars
petition was started a bit like the HS2 one some forty years later.
Remember that the club had only recently been closed down at Friarage
Hall in Aylesbury with much coverage in the press. Subsequently, I have
often described Risborough as a redneck town akin to those in the
Southern States of the America.
There was no Bar
of course. Everyone had to go next door to The Bell. The regulars were
a little taken aback by the sudden influx of a load of hippies all with
long hair and tie dyed granny vests. And that was just the boys! I
donít remember much about the Hall except the stairs, the little stage,
the portrait of Her Majesty and the one of Winston Churchill. The gig
passed off OK and Genesis complete with Peter Gabriel seemed well
pleased. Unfortunately their battered transit van got a ticket from the
local constabulary at the end of the night. Something to do with
driving over the pavement I believe.
all these years later the British Legion Hall in Princes Risborough is
for sale. Something to do with a row between their local members and
the national British Legion I think. Plus ca change.