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Friars website introductions

 

Jerry Slater

Friars Founding Father
 

July 2008

I probably can’t fill in much that you don’t already know about the early days of Friars. I got involved because Adrian and I had started a Friars fore-runner at the Derby Arms. We only put on one evening of entertainment (in the upstairs room behind the pub), but it was a really momentous night. Top of the bill was Ron Geesin (well known enigmatic nutcase and muse to Syd Barrett). Spirogyra played (because the bass player, Steve Borrill was my girlfriend’s brother. They were all Kent university students including Barbara Gaskin, who later had a number one with dave Stewart (It’s my party). Spyrogyra’s vinyl albums change hands for loads of dosh these days, apparently. Willy Barrett also played, of course, and so did one of our school fiends; Colin Rose. I think we lost about five pounds overall and Ron Geesin kindly informed us hat this was because we were supposed to tell people about our gigs, not keep them secret. We were only 16 ...

Also of interest (maybe!) is our return to the Derby Arms after the demise of Friars One at the Friarage Hall. I helped Will Barrett to run the Bog Hog Folk club and booked in various acts including Bridget St John (who I fell in love with), Keith Christmas and Medicine Head (who also had big hit ‘One and One is One’ a few years’ later). Medicine Head played for 15 quid (see attached contract). It was a great place to enjoy music, (though nothing on Friars) though it was probably a terrible fire hazard as I think back on it now, a single flight of rickety step up to a narrow door in an all wooden building. I remember a huge pair of horns hanging on the wall; it was the meeting place for Aylesbury’s Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (whatever they were ...).  Always in the background was genial misogynist and pub landlord Ted. Can’t remember his second name, but I do recall him telling us that he had traded his wife in for a Jensen Interceptor when she left him.

Willy and I also tried to persuade the ex services club to let us use the Friarage hall for the odd folk night in 1971, but they weren’t having any of it (see letter).

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