You have to be quite special to get a name like ‘Chopper’. Immediately two individuals spring to mind; Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris the early seventies Chelsea hatchetman who regularly took delight in embedding his studs in Georgie Best’s ankles. Then in the nineties the world became aware of an Australian psychopathic serial killer called Mark ‘Chopper’ Read. He earned his moniker after famously going one step further than Van Gogh and having both ears sliced off in a prison brawl. Sandwiched between these two in the mid-eighties and very much the ‘meat’ was a student from Tamworth, possibly the biggest, baddest Chopper of them all. I’m not sure exactly what course he did but it was something in ‘Meat Technology’ and he had a white coat, protective hair-net and a set of razor sharp butchers knives to prove his credentials. He reached the peak of his powers at a time when vegetarianism was truly starting to infiltrate the mainstream. Linda McCartney was assaulting the high street with her veggie bangers and Morrissey’s plaintive wail on The Smiths second album reverberated from bedsits the length and breadth of England. But the carniverous Chopper was having none of it. He was unreconstructed pork chops, peas and potatoes, mate and leave plenty of fat on, thank you very much. This boy worshipped at the high alter of butchery and did so with the greatest zeal. Before dinner, he would bounce his knife and fork on the table, Henry the Eighth style, his mouth slavering in anticipation of the forkfuls of succulent flesh coming his way. It may only have been a Goblin meat pudding but as long as there was a bit of gristle to get his gnashers on he was happy. I will never forget his unbridled joy at the sight of a great slab of fatty bacon on his Sunday morning plate. As he lashed into the pink quivering flesh, spurts of fat squirted across the table, his psychotic cackle and thick Black Country accent combining to make gentler souls shudder and run to the Animal Liberation Front in their droves. He was particularly ecstatic after a visit to an abbatoir and regailed us for days with blood-soaked tales of butchery, stun-guns and offal. Even Sam, as if in solidarity with the animal kingdom showed a watchful eye when Chopper was about and kept very much to his basket. I’m not sure if there were many Korean restaurants in Tamworth but the wily mutt was a master of self-preservation.