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A True Story: The 80's, Cider Drinking and Flying Side Kicks

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A True Story: The 80's, Cider Drinking and Flying Side Kicks


Wham and Tears for Fears dominated the charts in 1985. In politics, a female prime minister was hated by the media, the labour party were worried about the influence of Trotskyist militants.

Socially, football hooliganism was rampant with English clubs being banned in Europe. Live Aid was launched and the miners’ strike ends after one year, and youth were rioting in London. The economy was apparently tanking. Internationally, there was an ongoing cold war with Russia, and the world was going to hell in a handbasket. So, no change there!

Wham, was most definitely not on the playlist of this gang of young socialists, if it was in the charts they weren’t interested. The hot topics of discussion were music, followed by politics, international affairs, drinking and very occasional girls (they would have liked to talk more about girls, but there was never much to say).

The leader when it came music was Daz, he always knew who the next coolest hip-hop group was going to be, Paul along with Ajay loved his choice of music. However, Rich was a Mod, yes it was 1985 and no one should still have been a Mod, he loved that style of 60's music, bought his clothes in Carnaby street in London, and that’s who he was and it suited him well.

A big night out for this gang of sixteen year olds was a getting a bottle of cider each, hanging out (or loafing as they would say) around the Abbey Lane area, talking about life and seeing who could neck the bottle of cider fastest. Their conversations probably sounded like nonsense, but they knew they were having deep meaningful, philosophical discussions about how to solve the world’s problems.

What to drink? They never had much money, so buying a bottle of booze was serious business and required a lot of consideration. It had to have a good cost to alcohol ratio.

Their favourite was Old English cider at 80p a bottle the choice was a no brainer, however Rich who was a bit flash would often have a quart bottle of vodka.

It was summer time, late Saturday afternoon with blue skies and the sun shining, a perfect day for them to meet up, buy cider and hit the streets. The gang that day consisted of Daz, Rich, Paul and Ajay, they headed for Talbot park.

The park is quite small, hardly a park at all, just a few swings, but mainly an open grass plain with trees on the periphery, they liked to hang out there because it was always quiet, there was never any annoying kids or the parents visiting. Alongside the park runs the river Soar, the park then narrows and becomes a walkway with trees either side, this path continues for quarter of a mile before it passes a local graveyard then meets the streets.

Our heroes with cider bottles in hand strolled through the park along a path which rises as the park ends and just becomes a walkway. They decide to loaf on the jetty, they had to walk down a set of steps to where the jetty protrudes into the river, no doubt they talked about the state of the world, probably hating on Mrs Thatcher’s government, or chatting about new album that Daz had bought and whether they knew about any houses parties that were coming up.

Knocking the cider back it, there was a great vibe, chatting and taking the piss out of each other. They hear a group of lads walking along the path, (for the sake of this story we will give this gang of youths a name‘The Orphans’ which if you remember was the really crap gang in the cult 1980s hit film the Warriors).

They stopped on the path at the top of the steps. They literally had the high ground! Our cider drinkers did not know what they wanted or what their motives were, but there were six of them, maybe a similar age but on average bigger and taller. They blocked their only way out!

The odds would not seem too bad at six to four, but in their gang only two of them would be able to handle a fight. Daz who was quite small but he never backed down from a fight and Paul also little and lightly built, however he was a karate guy and had been obsessively training for over three years.

But Paul was a realist and knew very well sparring in a karate class, or fighting in a tournament was a million miles away from a real fight, especially when the numbers where against you.

The Orphans gang, were making some comments that this was their turf and that they should not be hanging out in their area, clearly, they were trying to intimidate them.

The geeky socialists realised they had to get off the jetty and up the steps, so they were at least on the same level, otherwise they would have the back to the river. Whist trying to defuse the situation and look like they were not the slightest bit bothered, they edged their way up the steps until they were face to face with the Orphans.

Ajay was looking nervous and worried. He made a break for it, Ajay legged it down the path towards the open park. Four of the Orphan’s broke away and chased him. Daz and Paul looked at other, no words needed, it was on! They chased after the lads pursuing Ajay.

The psychology had changed from being a bit intimidated to chasing these tosser’s down, who were after their mate.

Paul could see they were about twenty yards ahead and they were catching up on Ajay and were almost on him, because the path was slightly downhill Paul and Daz were making great speed and closing in fast.

The park then flattens out after about hundred yards. Ajay stops as he is surrounded by the four lads, he is pushed over and is now on the ground. Paul must make a split-second decision does he run up to them, stop and see what happens or do something else.

He does something else, not wanting to give up on the advantage of speed and momentum he had built up running, he spots biggest lad and aims for him, pushes off the ground with his right foot gets some good air, the left leg chambers, extends and bang, slams a powerful flying side kick right into this muppets chest. The sucker hits the ground fast.

Daz closes in behind Paul, they square off against the three lads still standing. Is it about to kick off? The other two members of their gang had followed us down.

There was a pause!

Then nothing, this Orphans which tried to intimidate our heroic cider drinkers, started talking not fighting, they were looking scared, maybe the shock of the seeing the jump kick drop their main man had made the situation too real, maybe they were just a bunch of w**kers trying to be tough by picking on smaller guys.

The Orphans sloped off, and our heroes made their way back on to the streets, hopefully to meet up with some girls, maybe to buy more cider, and definitely to talk more nonsense and probably blame on the whole incident on ‘Thatcher’s bloody Britain.



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