Yup I am back hard on the editing scene again working on a follow up to ‘Over Under Sideways Down’ with a whole new set of stories and secrets for you. There are some gems in there again, quite a few stories about Queen especially in the early days when they were trying to break into the business as well as the whole gamut of bands and musical styles.
As a taster here is David Stopps talking about the amazing club he ran in Aylesbury, called Friars and some of the problems he had with ‘different’ kinds of audiences
If you want to talk about Punk, we operated just behind the curve because everywhere else was getting closed down, St Albans absolutely banned Punk completely, High Wycombe Town Hall banned completely, Oxford banned completely, we were the only venue in the home counties this side that carried on with Punk bands. We always told the police, I would phone them up and say look we have this band, a little bit lively. Oh thanks for warning us. Actually they were lovely people, most of the skinheads were absolutely lovely. We used to make them take off their toe-protectors because we would not allow steel toe capped boots into the venue and we bought this job lot of plimsolls and we would ask them what size they were, and so there were all these skinheads walking round the venue in plimsolls. We would take off all the studded belts and we had a room full of studded belts with raffle ticket numbers sellotaped to them and they could pick them up at the end of the gig. From the hippie period to the punk/ska period was like a complete sea change. The first band we put on was The Stranglers and we had never come across anything like this, they just ignored all the rules. We used to have guys stopping people bringing their beer into the venue from the bar and they just looked at them and laughed and just walked through with the beer. No-one had done that before, but we just applied hippie values to that punk ethos and it somehow worked, we somehow got away with it.
photo – The Clash @ Friars 1978 photo by Mark Jordan