Mad Dog

Mad Dog

In December 1920 the Black and Tans burnt his beloved city of Corcaigh to the ground and Mad Dog wasn’t going to let anyone forget it. Once on a weekend visit to London we walked past Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square and he spat on the ground and cursed ‘the imperialist warlord’. He made Roy Keane seem like a pussycat. Given his intense rebel heart we were unlikely compadres but we rubbed along very nicely and shared a great many scrapes. Though we got off to a bad start when he berated me for giving the time of day to Fred Silvester, prospective Conservative MP for Withington, who came a-knocking at the door on the 1983 General Election campaign trail. I think he would have preferred it if I’d given him the Captain Farrell treatment and ‘jumped up, fired off my pistol and shot him with both barrels’. He really was a wild card, modelling himself on Johnny Boy from Martin Scorcese’s ‘Mean Streets’ with a healthy dose of Apocalypse Now and Taxi Driver thrown in for good measure. He was a hell-raiser who refused to suffer fools, but he had a gentle and sensitive side which only those closest to him saw. A bastion of 25 Albany Road, there was no finer way to end an evening in The Feathers or The Bowling Green than walking the streets of Chorlton in the small hours belting out ‘Whiskey in the Jar-o’ – usually with a quarter bottle in the belly-o. There are almost too many memories of him but if there is one single image, he would usually be stripped to the waste, chest hairs a-bristling, ready to take on all-comers. Because he was a little older he graduated and stepped out into the world of work (and UB40) before the rest of us. So we followed his exploits at Simpsons Foods and Stretford DHSS with great interest. Later he brought himself a small terraced house next door to Moss Side Bus Garage and we all moved in. It must’ve been quite a place to coax me away from my cosy St Clement’s Road nest.

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