Cyprus Hell

Cyprus Hell

Myself, Sharky, Mad Dog and Commie Ken were having a few summer drinks in the city and ended up afterhours in the popular Cyprus Tavern. This was one of the few places at that time where students or the unwashed graduate could mingle with Mancunian proletarian youth from the warehouses of Wythenshawe or the factories of Flixton and hope to avoid a bashing. Or so we thought. We made two mistakes. One was to leave our drinks unattended as we shimmied off across the dancefloor. Upon returning we found that a group of surly moustached and tattooed Young Governors had moved in and were nonchalently quaffing our lagers. Bad move number two was to try and point out our ownership of said beverages. ‘Excuse me, old chap you may be mistakenly supping my Tetleys’. That was a very big mistake. Six or seven pints down the line, it was hard to remember precisely what happened next, but for certain the next few seconds exploded in a frenzy of violence. It truly was a bit of a blur, but I recall one very angry moustache in my face screaming ‘You twat!’ Suddenly I was reeling backwards as another head came at me and then a kick. The Shark had it much worse – on his back and being seemingly repeatedly head-butted by what looked like Kevin Webster’s ugly little brother. Suddenly as if like something out of Enter the Dragon, there was a ear-splitting shriek, loud enough to drown out Sister Sledge. Out of the corner of my eye, a figure seemed to propel itself straight into the midst of the mellee. His limbs were taut, the stare glacial, his face twisted in a fearsome vengeful rage. The message was clear to one and all. Don’t nobody mess with The Chinaman, Mr Shung-hua Xia.The moustaches scattered, the bouncers waded in and somehow we gathered our wits and made a break for the door. We ran all the way down Whitworth Street and didn’t stop till we reached Oxford Road. I had a bit of a sore head and a puffy swollen ear. It was Fantasy Bob with his Beano-style take on things who described it as ‘cauliflower’- the sort of thing handed out by Bully Beef or Desperate Dan. The next morning I went with Sharky to hospital to get his broken nose sorted. The news that 54 holidaymakers had died at Manchester Airport that morning on a flight waiting to go to Corfu put everything in perspective.

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