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Robin Pike

Friars founding Father

Friars goes to Princes Risborough 

During 1970, 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. 

Interestingly, 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.

 Robin Pike

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