Beverly Peyton has been Gary and Franky's hair-dresser and friend for many, many years. This is her account of a whimsical episode from 1971, and more ...
I was reminded of my first trip to England in a recent correspondence, comparing notes on Rainbow memorabilia, when I recalled the day the Brookers hosted several friends that had attended that particular concert.
I had already been welcomed into the homes of Dave and Keith and was thoroughly overwhelmed that they saw fit to invite me at all. My only intention planned for this trip was to hear Procol Harum, for the first time, play live with an orchestra and a choir. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think they would divvy their time with me as well.
Getting to Franky and Gary's turned into a bit of an adventure and, upon arriving at their local depot, turned us into frightful pains, I'm ashamed to say. We were having problems with transportation and eventually the Commander came to our rescue. As the house came into view, I remember thinking, "This is exactly how I thought it would be."
The home was very charming, much like Franky and Gary, and instead of an address like we have in the States; it simply had a name. I found this very refreshing.
As Gary walked ahead of us, I spotted a lone acorn no larger than an inch in diameter and collected it as a keepsake. Suddenly, we heard Gary in a muffled voice say, "Oh my!" as he leaned forward and lifted a black object from the ground and centered it on a ledge to his right. Then, with an open hand, he motioned for the object to "stay" as he looked to us and said, "deadpan", in that brilliant British accent, "That's my bat!"
It was easy to see how his nonchalant behavior would appeal to thousands when he would take to the stage. Aside from his genius as a composer, he had exposed a quality that set him apart from most. Without even trying to entertain, he had amused us with a dead bat!
What occurred throughout this visit to England endeared me like never before. I was given the opportunity to visit these people in their natural surroundings, which showed how genuine they really were and are. It also gave me the insight as to where and how this group of people could write and deliver such remarkable lyrics and music.
But my biggest surprise of all came when I asked to use the bathroom at Franky and Gary's house. What's this about, you ask? Well, several months prior, for Gary's birthday, I had mailed some very silly children's toys and went to great pains to make them very messy to open, using bright green and blue crepe paper. I never did learn just how much he cursed me trying to get the colors off his fingers. They had been sent in fun and, much to my delight, they had used them as such, cleverly decorating the bathroom with them. I have to admit ... not only was I flattered, but it looked pretty darn good too!
If I arrived as a dedicated fan, I left as a dedicated friend and from that acorn ... doth a lifelong friendship and a story grow.
As for the concert ... ah, c'était magnifique!