Meet at Newport Rd for a quick swish. The ‘no sleeping on tour’ rule was applied with immediate effect. The ‘charabanc’ was loaded up with various appropriate (and not so) aperitifs. The Cav’s – Stan, Ben and Mike Carless – take up the back ten rows. The Pimms Set – take up the front six seats. The remainder, the tour virgins, with chunky as crèche nanny – adopt ‘no man’s’ land the middle of the bus.
Uncle Buck is fast asleep before we reach Membury Services. A big mistake – as Chunky applies the mandatory chilli sauce to Bucks bell-end and the first (but not last) tear of the tour is shed.
We alight the bus at Gatwick. Concerns are immediately noted as Dazza has lost the use of his legs, and seems to be talking in some obscure cock-a-knee accent. The cabbies on the rank are taking a strange dislike to for some reason. Darren ‘Dumay’ Dummett, flips the said spiv’s the finger.
As punishment for sleeping on tour, Chunks assigns Uncle Buck to chaperone Fatbloke through customs. The Pimms Set gets the passports and boarding cards ready, and we are through customs in a jiffy. Nanny Chunks corals the mob and we board the waiting DC 10. The Pimms Set relax. First objective reached without a major incident. Four hours of relative peace. They got us this far! So far so good.
Adrian ‘Aider’ Carpranini, Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Nolan, Bobby Mathews and Simon ‘who the f–k is Harris’ Harris.
Double G&Ts all round is the shout and ‘Roll a Silver Dollar’ reverberates through the jet plane, cos we’re leaving, and we don`t know when we’ll be back again. The bar runs dry within two hours. The trolley dollies are looking pensive and it’s found that the takings from the bar have mystically gone missing. The head steward is distraught. He had the same thing happen last week. Rugger boys apparently from somewhere called ‘Pill Harriers’. Had he let his guard down again?
Woofer – the Captain wishes all aboard adieu and we land. Luggage secured and loaded on to the Cypriot chariot. A quick head count reveals that Nana Chunks job is done. 400 smackers are mystically added to the kitty from a mystical benefactor as Pathos, the driver, pulls off in the direction of AYA NAPPA.
Kostas, the moustachioed patron of the hotel, is there to greet us with stuffed vines and Labamba’s. We are shown our rooms and allocated a Room Monitor, by the Pimms Set – to look after us. Ours is Vinnie – Could be worse – Not a bad choice.
Myself, Dazza, Toozer, Butetown, and not for getting PATSY, are roomies for the week. Me, Daz and Pats get the beds, Tooz – the settee as Bute and Vinnie bag the en suite.
Chunks, Jenko, Ben and Saleh are sat drinking their fifth Bumba. Their bags still at their sides. The drinks are racked up and the mob surrounds the lone barman who, by the way had a fine moustache. Pale legs and taffy tans start to fill the bar. Yamos! And another round is drunk. The gruff half-shaven patron’s left eye sheds a tear of greed as the till rings with Cypriot pounds clinking and crashing into the tray. Scouts are sent on a mission to find some night life. The woggled trio reappear. They have chanced upon a bar with ‘action’. We leave and embark on exploring the Jewel of the Med.
AYA NAPPA here we come.
Later we find Chunky talking to the night porter, Pacco, (Kostas’s moustachioed brother), his suitcase still by his side. Toozer has been waiting patiently for the lads to return. He leads us to a room that is acting as a temporary cellar. Just out of view of Pacco. 30 cases of Becks are liberated tout de suite. Chunks keeping Pacco amused with small talk. Chunks has a very warm side to him when you get to know him.
The first night slips away and melts into dawn. Patsy and Fatbloke are spooning. A rainbow has appeared over one of the single beds, and a small but significant puddle under it?
Butetown and Vinnie make tea and toast. Fatbloke stirs (not the teacdc), gives Patsy a recognisable strange look and asks Bute for a beer. Bute duly obliges and hands him a liberated Becks. Toozer is on crusade. Mopeds: we need mopeds. Off he goes.
We get our trunks on and find the lads by the pool. Bodies of all shapes and sizes, in varying degrees of sunburn whale and sloth around the pool. Phil the Fish and Uncle Buck are cooking nicely. Big Don has covered up and has factor fiftied himself up. He’s Dripping.
Toozer’s back. Twenty mopeds and scooters – 10 Cypriot pounds a day. If we hire the lot we can get one day free. What the Tooz don`t tell us ‘til later is that he got a free one. We head for the hire shop. Mike’s Bikes. Kostas’s moustachioed cousin. The Cypriot dosh is handed over and like nothing out of Easy Rider, were off to Nisi Beach. Patsy is Marlon Brando. The Wild One. The leader of the pack. Dazza is riding pillion; backwards – looking at us as we weave down the road. Some on the left and some on the right, no one is quite sure what side of the road we are supposed to be on as no one enquired and Mike’s Bikes didn`t bother to tell us. The only thing that is certain is that everyone coming towards us is definitely on the wrong side.
With fresh air and the smell of two strokes in our nostrils, we are, Dennis Hopper, Evil Knievel and Phil Lynott rolled into one. The Boys are indeed back in town. Keep that motor running, running down the highway. Born to be Wild – we certainly are. X however is toodling along at about five miles an hour and Patsy and Daz have to keep going back to get him.
We stop at a go-kart track and tooz gets a comp going. Stan and Baldie have the two fastest karts but with Toozer’s weight advantage they seem to be evenly matched. Celestine X is as bad in the kart as his is on a bike – painfully slow. Everyone laps him. He is concentrating so much on where he is going that he forgets to look inside him when cornering and causes a smash. That’s what must have happened when that mad Baird knocked him off his bike all those years ago. Saleh, Hurlo and my good self leave the cast of Death Wish 2000 in search of some real excitement.
Hurlo chances on an Aussie selling bungee jumps. With Hurlo’s love of the antipodeans, we were soon strapped to a piece of glorified knicker elastic. Thrown off twice first forwards then backwards, never been more scared and excited in my life. Hurlo strikes a deal with the Kangaroo and we promise to bring the gang back tomorrow at about 12.00. Cost of the jump twenty Cypriot pounds, half price as long as we get most of them jumping and we get there early. Iit will pull in the punters and we will get our fee back. Sounds cool to us. We head back to the Hotel Mirramar.
Kostas greets us again. Feta olives and Metaxas shots this time. He is either unaware or doesn’t care that he is 30 cases of Becks down. Half of the troop are back, the other half are racing round the Island. One by one they turn up, some with gravel rash, where they and the road had a coming together of minds. Others so drunk that they are unable to tether their trusty steeds on their stands. And finally X. He’s acquired a crash helmet now liberated from the karting blokes. They know Mike, (Mikes Bikes) he’s their brother and X can hand it in when he gives them the bike back! Which he is doing first thing tomorrow!!
Town beckons and the Scouts have found that Aya Nappa has more than one street. There is a bar up the road, first left, that has a happy hour from nine – till twelve. All drinks half price! Then from twelve till two, all drinks are two for the price of one! Happy days. We just need to find the barman with the moustache.
Ciao Kostas was off. Kostas was seen to shed his second tear.
Stan was seen with Mike Carless raving in some night club, fluorescent band around his neck, whistle hanging out of his mouth, waving his hands about. Big Fish little Fish cardboard box, a la Kevin and Perry. X had been followed home by some odd looking girls, and locked himself in his room. He wouldn’t let his roommates in for hours due to Paranoia
Saleh, Treble F and me are at the pool taking in the night air and determined to see the dawn in, when… VROOOOOOOM –VROOOOOOOM — SHCREECH — SHCREECH — SPLASH!!!!! .Patsy Brando has done a Keith Moon. Chopper and Patsy are in the pool. We pull Keith from the pool, then fish his bike out. It doesn’t look too good, and Patsy sheds a tear. He loved that bike.
Patsy, Dazza and the Tooz are on the sofa – asleep. Patsy has put trigge, his trusty steed, to bed. The front wheel is on the pillow, duvet wrapped lovingly around the handlebar, tank and seat. There are two rainbows today, one above Daz’s bed and one above the bike’s bed. Under the bed is a puddle of two-stroke mixed with water. A veritable kaleidoscope. A myriad of rainbows under the bed. It was a most beautiful sight. Vinnie makes us all toast and cracks five Becks. Tooz stirs and gives Fatbloke, and Fatbloke a recognisable strange look accepts the beer and slurps feverishly. The stash is diminishing fast – only five crates left. We will need to organise another raid, or God forbid buy our own come Thursday. Butetown is AWOL. Vinnie recounts a tale of seeing Jowie, Roach and the Tooz on one moped, trying to pull a wheelie up the main drag at about 3 am. Then he notices Patsy’s bike in the bed. I mean you couldn’t miss it. Vinnie’s not as compos mentis as he is making out. Our Room Monitor is slipping into full tour mode. It’s a case of if you can’t beat them, give in.
We make our way pool side. About ten of the crew are there. Uncle Buck and the Fish are toasting nicely, crimson in fact. Don has changed from blue to off white, almost grey, and is down to factor 35. Good boy Don. He gives it the big one, but is quite sensible when it gets down to it.
It’s off to Bungee today. It takes a while to gather all the bodies up but were on our way – late as usual like playing away to Abercwmboi. Brum Brum WHOOSH and were heading down the Highway. Heavy metal night mare! Nisi Beach here we come. The Aussie’s are waiting. The bungee crane is hanging limp at the dock side. Sign this cobber’s the marsupial instructs. It’s nothing much. Aider takes it from his hand reads and it shakes his head. It’s a declaration that if anything should happen, it’s not their fault. Hey – were on our holibobs who cares? We got insurance! Vinnie got us a deal with John Barry. Hurrah were covered!
Hurlo takes off to get the last of the stash. This is going to be a good laugh – better get some refreshments. The boys deposit the cash with the dolly bird in the tent; sign the form, and wait for the first victim. One at a time they get strapped into the knicker elastic, and prepare to jump off a perfectly good crane, with only a piece of stretchy string tied to their legs.
Treble F, Uncle Buck, Stan get thrown off with varying degrees of aplomb. After the 3rd jump Patsy, Dazza don’t look too good. They make their excuses and leave to give Hurlo a hand. You just know they’re not coming back until it’s over! Jowie, Aiders and Harris, Arris – who the f–k is Arris, get kitted up next.
The boss Aussie walks past Jowie and shakes his head.
“Brett, Brett! Come ‘ere Brett. What have you done with this one? We can’t have another incident. You know what happened last time.”
The boss checks Jowie’s harness and re-does it. Jowie’s face is a picture, not knowing if they’re messing about or what. Brett checks it again and beckons his boss over. They both kneel down. Sigh. Undo it. Redo it. Again; and tell Jowie,
“If you feel it slip, point your toes up, towards your shins. This will help it to not slip. It’s only happened once before. The bloke, was on his way back up, and he only fell about twenty feet into the sea.”
Jowie is not well. He is turning green. A physical wreck; but Jowie being Jowie, in his heart of hearts knew they were taking the piss.!!???? Definitely!?
Treble F wants to go up and take the pictures. The Aussie let him and up they all go. Aider’s is first off.
Aider’s walks off the bloody platform. He falls through the air in the upright position. The knicker elastic takes up the strain and flips him over and over again. The whole beach takes a combined gasp.
They lower him off and his eyes are still tight shut.
“Come on mate up you go you paid for two jumps.”
He goes again fair play to Aid. This time he falls backwards. He shuffles to the edge and again feet first. (Treble F took a great shot. The look of horror on his face as he leaves the platform is something to behold. There must be a copy somewhere.) He flips out of control again. MINT!
Jowie’s next. Even from the deck he looks terrified.
He’s off. Not a bad flight. We are all cheering.
ALLEZ ALLEZ MON BRAV.
Jowie is lowered off to the crash mat. His eyes are closed tight – really tight. Then someone notices his toes. They are pointing straight up towards his knees. Doing as he was told. The back of his ankles are white with straining. His pants have a bulge in the back. This can only mean one thing!
“IT SLIPPED!” He shouted, as he realized that he was safe again on Terra Firma.
“It f***ing slipped, I tells you. It slipped.”
“Come on then pal up you go for your second.”says Brett.
“F*CK OFF! NO WAY!”
“PAL! PAL! You’ve paid for two!”
“You’re no F*CKING PAL of mine. You Tosser!”
We all fell about laughing our collective heads off!!
Simon is next. He stands atop the platform extends his arms out like Greg Louganis at the Barcelona Olympics, and leaps out into the great beyond. Arms spread out like an eagle – chest thrust forward. He looks magnificent. Holds the pose till the knicker accessory takes up the tension. He performs a triple tuck with twist. A 3.5 tariff. No need to ask, up you go Brett takes his hand and helps him to the cage. This time Harris launches himself again, a Backward double pike with triple twist. 3.9 tarrif. God, doesn’t he make you sick!
By the time, the antipodeans have finished throwing us off, the queue to jump, is over a hundred people long. The dolly bird has put the price up to 30 quid for a single jump with photo. Dazza’s back and misreads her offer, and gets a slap in the mush for his troubles. Dazza sheds a tear. He really thought he was in there.
We bid the bungee gypsies farewell and head off to a beach bar that the Tooz has found. Our transport bussing and whining their way down Route 66.
Bar LESBOS! The banner proclaims. Keo The King Of Beers is sold here. Jenko’s favourite. The logo on the tin reads… DRINK AND BE HAPPY. When the Jenks read that, it became his drink of choice. The Proprietor greets us – Maria, Kostas’s sister (small moustache). Any old up, the Keo begins to get cracked open, and before long Saleh and Snookie are modelling the Taj Mahal out of the empties. The session takes a turn for the worse, when after a while and a few trips to the bogs, (they were awful, and stank to high heaven. Full of moustache hair), Ben wets himself in his seat, “can’t be arsed.” he says.
The toilet is rank. Within the hour everyone, to a man, has wet himself. Maria did not seem to be that bothered. Dusk fell as a huge rainbow above the bar melted away into the night. Maria brought out pizza and kebabs. When Ben announced that it was time for a No 2’s – that was enough! We decided to leave. Toozer ferried the incapable back to the Mirramar, aback his Harley.
The three S’s are observed Sh*t Shower and Shave. The Scouts are back again and inform us that Aya Nappa is even bigger than we thought. We have found a square. It’s full of clubs. It’s just around the corner from the Rose and Crown, about 200 yards up the road. Get your clubbing gear on. We rush back to our rooms and change into our Sunday best shorts and it’s only Wednesday. Espadrilles white calf length chino’s and Hawaiian shirts fill the bar. It’s like a Wham reunion!
“Club Tropicana drinks are free. There’s enough for every one.” We sing as we head for the Square. The corner is turned and we stand and stare at the hedonism that awaits us. Our eyes glaze over. A collective tear is shed. Phil the Fish finds Red Rock on tap. Butetown gets them in, and Patsy bellows out a ditty that we all know and love so well “WE ARE THE PISSPOTS NOBODY LIKES US” blah blah “WHO CARES?”
Kostos cares. He’s lost us and he knows he has. Kostas sits head slumped in his hands.
It was bound to happen sooner or later. He sheds more than just a tear. Knocks back a large Metaxa and leaves.
The Rocks are on the Rock. RED ROCK. There’s no stopping us now. We’re having such a good time let’s give it a ball.
“One Step Beyond” blares out from a club on the other side of the square. Bar Top Rank. Uncle Buck IS Suggs. He strikes the pose and the whole gang join in, and we ARE Madness. We are on our way to the neon light. It seems that whole square comes to a halt for a brief second. We melt into the throng, Were On the Night Boat to Cairo. Even Arris joins in. A bottle of Sol in hand. He’s cracking bit by bit, and we’re loving it. Good Times. Aiders and Vinnie cracked already after Patsy’s bike went for a swim on Tuesday morning.
Jowie’s now on the second floor balcony threatening to stage dive. We cheer him on and like a leaping salmon he falls safely into our hands. Uncle Buck is up the stairs as quick as you like. Don’t do it Buck. Snookie manages to talk the ginger monster down. What a relief! He’s a big lad. Stan’s raving again with Ben and Mike Carless. Phil the Fish’s chest is expanding by the second as he sees all the totty parading around the square. He’s in totty heaven. Friends are made, and lost. The Rock is flowing, and all is well.
The dawn breaks a burnt orange glow drifts over the azure sea. Everyone is content, when a scout returns.
“I’ve found a chill out club around the corner. It opens at six and closes at ten. Keo on draft and it’s free to get in,” he states enthusiastically. Can this get any better? We head off to the club. CLUB OBLIVION. This sounds promising.
Would you believe it? Kostas is outside, “ALLO BOYS. This is Mehas – my wife’s brother,” He has a bushy moustache. “He will look after you. I told him to give you special price. Yes?”
Kostas slaps the scout on his back. Guess who? Yep you got it. The Tooze. Free drinks all morning for our Tooze.
The last of the revellers arrive back at the Hotel Miramar. Phil the Fish and a few of the boys are still working on their tans by the pool. The Fish has horrible looking blisters on his bonce and shoulders. We nod our heads and go to our room. There are no bedroom rainbows today – as me, Daz and Patsy have been out all night. The bike is still in bed fast asleep, and Patsy wonders if he will ever get to ride the 12cc beast again. The room looks like Hiroshima – the day after. Toozer has taken to sleeping in the bath. ‘Good night,’ says he and shuts the bathroom door. ‘Night Night.’ we reply. Our heads hit the pillow and the first urine rainbow creations of the day appear.
Vinnie opens the door.
“Okay lads. Get your kit ready. It’s match day.”
The response is somewhat muted.
“Match day?” I rub my eyes. “Match day? We’re on tour. You don’t go on tour to play a bloody match. That’s just a wheeze to please the woman folk.” (Footnote 1)
“No honest. Arris has arranged a match with the combined services.” Says our prefect. Arris? Arris? Who the f**k is Arris when e’s at home?
We are on the bus. How we got on the bus is a mystery to this day, but we’re on the bus. Stan’s looking green. Hurlo has got one of them new fan dangled camcorders. It’s the size of half a breeze block, with a microphone on the top, like on the tele. Never seen anything like it. Hurlo says you can put a VHS tape in it. Then play it on any TV that’s got a recorder. Gee things are getting weird. What will they’ll invent next? Phones you can carry round?
The bus leaves Aya Nappa. The driver is Kostas’ nephew, Davos (young, but working on his moustache). And no. He is not the supreme commander of the Daleks. That Davos has no moustache.
We are soon on mountain roads. Stan stops the bus. He is first out. Then about half the bus follows him spewing and chucking up everywhere. Simon sheds a tear and shakes his head. Hurlo Speilburg leaps into action and starts to record the projectile vomiting. Ben’s wetting himself again – with laughter this time and Snookie looks totally disgusted. He used to look up to Stan, as a player that is. Stan turns to Hurlo.
“It’s nerves Kev. I always get like this before a match.” Hurlo keeps the film rolling. He’s seen you been framed. There’s two hundred and fifty bucks in this, in any bodies money. If only you could invent a computer and put this on it to let other people see it / that would be funny. Someone could, invent it and call it BookFace – you – reunited. You never now it might catch on?
We turn the last corner of many and there it is. The ground – an oasis in a barren land. A green sports field with an athletic track, rugby pitches, football stadium and a full size Olympic swimming pool, like what we used to have at EMPIRE, but outside. There’s bodies everywhere, all looking fit. Running about and doing strange things which we eventually all agree must be… warming up. How strange. They look as if they’re up for this.
What have we let ourselves in for?
“Hello Chaps. I’m Major Barrington Barrington Smythe. Got a bit lorst did you? What? Never mind. What? Shall we say twenty minutes? What – Did you speak? No? Good ho. Just enough time for a quick ten lengths of the pool. By the way – Llantrisant came last week we pipped them, by three points. What?” And off he pops!
Arris is looking peeved with us. All of us. We get off the coach a bit sheepish like.
We get changed in silence and walk over to the pitch. X has tweaked a fetlock so he’s water boy for the day. The rest of us have no choice but to play. Martin ‘do you know who I am?’ Stephens and Arris are probably the only one’s capable of playing the full eighty minutes. Oh and, of course, the Snookster.( I had to put that in as I will only get grief from him.) Stan and Jowie get the last of the bile from their guts up in a searing pincer movement in front of the nearest bogs.
The starting fifteen line up – looking nothing like a line at all. A shrill blast and off we go. Stan launches the ball as deep as he can – the further the better. They catch it cleanly and pass the ball through five pairs of hands and score under the posts. No-one lays a hand on any of the opposition.
OH DEARY ME! This is going to be a long long afternoon. X runs on with the water and every one takes a sip. Ben throws up. Saleh follows him, which sets of half the backs.
Arris is not looking appy. He gets hold of the ball. He’s going to kick off this time. Thump – right down the full backs throat. He spills it. Knock on – scrum down Rocks. Dai Morris puts the ball in – channel one. He flips it out to Stan who passes it out to the slam twins Dazza and Jenko. They double team their centers. Bosh! NO BALLS.
‘They don’t like it up them.’ They didn’t want to know the tackle area. Jenko goes over. Patsy takes the conversion. Who else?
X shouts out from his H2O bottles “Stick it in the air,” he suggests, ” the fullback’s crap.” Allez X. He’s picked this game up quick since joining less then six months ago after a near fatal bicycle accident. (Footnote 2)
They kick off. Ben takes the ball in. The first three tacklers make, head-down half-hearted efforts. Ben smashes into the fourth bloke who he puts on his arse and slips the ball to the Fish at full gallop. A swerve; a dummy; a try.
Under ten minutes gone; three phases and three tries.
They kick off and Roach takes the ball into a maul. A trundle, a ruck, Dai to Stan, Stan to Jenks, a maul. Jenks takes the ball in and stays on his feet, calls the troops in and a maul takes place, with Jenko holding the golden egg calling for a drive. His feet by the way, are a full eighteen inches off the floor. The boys drive that ball, which is still firmly attached to Jenko and all, a full thirty yards. Eventually through shear exhaustion the thing collapses in a heap with Jenko passing comments and niceties to both sides. His head is still above the bodies and looking around as if he was on a site seeing tour.
The game moves on and the heat and beer starts to take their toll. At one point the ball falls to Patsy in mid-field. He puts boot to ball as he kicks the thing yells out ‘BOOT’. The hapless fullback again spills the ball. Coach X’s tactics work like a dream. Scrum down the ball goes through all the backs with Snookie on a long ‘round the back’ loop and Stephens pops it into the Snookster’s lap. The one eyed wonder sneaks over for another try. Half time twenty odd seven.
They kick off to Patsy again who picks up the ball. Drops his head and, for no apparent reason, passes the ball… to a back? No. To a forward? No. To X our strategist? No. Patsy passes the ball through his legs and shouts ALLEZ!! That starts everyone off with a chorus of ALLEZ’s. Round the back passes and outrageous dummy from Hurlo. Arris joins in, with an around the back pass to Baldy (who was getting up from the last scrum, just before half time). Baldy to Ben – who went over in the corner exclaiming the phrase BIFF! as he smashed the lone tackler into next week placing the ball expertly down with his left hand, while his right was clasped against his ear as if to hear the applause from the thousands who were not watching,
The match went on in the same vein for the remaining thirty minutes or so. They got into the idea of tackling a bit more as we tired. At one point Treble F did take off in the wrong direction towards our try line after being hit hard in a tackle. X put him right,
“Wrong way, Francis. Wrong way!” FFF turned on his heels, a little red faced and ran straight into their flanker with a dropped shoulder. OOUMPPHH!!
High knees and elbows – training every muscle in his Italian frame. No-one was going to get the ball off Treble F till the ref blew up for something or he had scored a try. The game came to an eventual but inconspicuous end. We shook hands, and Captain Barrington Barrington Smythe – how the mighty have fallen – gave us the traditional three cheers and we returned the honour. Patsy adding for good measure “WE ARE THE PISSPOTS NOBODY LIKES US!” ARRIS shed a tear, a single tear, but we all think, it was a tear of pride in his special band of Pisspots.
We are escorted to the corporal’s mess for entertainment. We are fed sumptuously and the bar games commence. They beat us at bottles and brooms and we do them in the boat race. A big fat blokes picks up a chair with his head against the wall. Everyone fails to do this feat. Even Arris, could not complete the chair. I knew there was a God! Can you believe it? There is something Arris can’t do. But if I know H, he’s been practicing – and he’s ready.
Time to go.
“ALL ABOARD the SKYLARK”
The squaddies load up our bus with booze and we are back of to NAPPA.
Arrive at the Mirramar. Kostas is appy again. Shots and sticky pastries this time. The first wave of revellers leave to get to the square. The rest of us take our time. The conversations are now taken on a monosyllabic tone.
“Blah…”. “Blur…”. “EH? Whah?”
People are getting to the stage where it’s hard work to keep it going. All that is except Jenko, who is refusing to have a bad patch. Dazza comes in to the bar. His room has been turned over. His wallet’s been pinched! We go back and take a lookat his room. It’s a mess. Butetown’s game boy is where he left it – on his bedside table. Toozer’s Walkman is where he left it – on the dresser in full view of any would be thieves. My thirty Cypriot pounds in small notes and change – not touched.
And the moped’s still in bed. A gooey mess has replaced the kaleidoscope of colour under the mattress.
Gee’s. Dazza’s really unlucky! Bloody wallet’s pinched again? Oh Hum.
Back to the bar for the last round of shots and lager and down to the square. Phil the Fish is out side a German bar ‘Daz Beer Hut.’ German and Dutch Fraus and Heirs all over the place. Both sexes as hairy as each other. Moustaches abound.
Pils is the drink of choice. At last Salah can drink and not throw up. He orders his Pils – warm of course – he really is weird that guy!
A James tribute band is playing in the bar. ‘Oh Sit Down’ comes on and the fraus go to the dance floor and sit down. The German humour shows no bounds. Everyone stays to soak up the pulses. This is the first night that Bute hasn’t got up to his old tricks of buying strange shots and weird drinks to neck in one. He’s like a six foot Del Boy. We have not had a Dubonett with cherryade so far, but the week is not over – yet.
James finish their set to a round of applause. The party is breaking up when the DJ announces that ‘ABBA-ESQUE’ will be on stage soon. As with all hard rugby blokes we are not, averse to a bit of ABBA – particularly the blond one – Agnyettafried.
Back home there is a certain steward who has educated us to the joys of the Fab Four. Benny and Bjorn take to the stage. A few bars of dancing queen Then Anni-frid and Agnetha faltsog enter. The place erupts into a frenzy. Dazza, Patsy take up the classic Abba pose and are dancing back to back. The fraus are clearly impressed with Rock’s knowledge of the great bands songs. Waterloo, Knowing Me – Knowing You Ah ha. To a man we stay and when the band finish with the classic and timeless Fernando. This, I believe, was the their biggest hit, knocking Hey Jude by that other group from the record books, as being the longest record to stay at no one in billboard history. We leave the sounds of the seventies and bid gooden nacht to our bosch hosts.
Ben tries a funny walk and salute of sorts. Cleese-esque, he isn’t. But funny he was!
Top Rank comes into view, and the doorman gives a signal to the vinyl jockey. ‘Our House…’ blasts out of the club and we’re back! All of us running on the spot and striking poses trying our best SKA moves. ‘…In the Middle of the Street’. Life is good! An hour or two later Uncle Buck is fast asleep on the bar of the club – flat out on the bar, The barmaids totally ignore him and pass the drinks over his body to the customers. Fortunately, the bouncers think its funny and leave him there. No one seems to be worried and the evening fades into a fog of beer and music.
The call for ‘Oblivion’ grows, and many drift to the place if only to get a little closer to the hotel. Kostas is there waiting for us; Metaxa in hand. He nods and waves us in. Even the boys who want to go back for a kip cannot get past the power of the Kosta. This man is a master of getting every last penny out of us. You gotta admire him.
We pass The Sungods, The Fish is now just red. Don strips off and flops on to the sunbed and boldly asks The Fish for factor 15 and could he do the back of his legs. The Fish slaps Don’s back. Don lets out a yelp and The Fish dives into the pool. Don follows him in and another day starts! The rooms open. We make our way to our pits.
Shock! Horror!! Patsy’s beloved trigger is missing.
“Where’s she gone?” he rants.
“Can’t have gone far Pats. You got the key!” Tooz exclaims.
“No I haven’t. I left it in the ignition.”
A black stain is on the sheets, Patsy falls on the bed, unconsolable, and is away with the fairies before he lands – by the time his head hit the head-board. Unfortunately he missed the bed itself and rolls onto the floor – his new resting place. Wherever I lays my hat…
Vinnie kicks open the door – revs up the liberated and well-rested Trigger. With a knowing grin on his face, he announces that we are going to initiate the ‘tour virgins’ at three in the Rose and Crown. I open one eye, pull my arm from around Patsy and Dazza. They’re in bed with me and I’m wet through; soaked to the skin. The rainbow boys have performed their magic. Bute comes in, scratching his head and with the other hand down his pants, says “was I dancing with a German bloke to ABBA last night?”
It all comes flooding back and it dawns on him! Them Amaretto’s take their toll in the end Bute!
The scene is set. The Kangaroo court is in session and three of the virgins are lined up for their tour drink. Chunky mixes his brew and Aiders gets a plastic dustbin from the landlord who, by the way, is no relation to Kostas at all but he does have a very good moustache. Now there’s a thing. Six Guinness with a pickled egg, chilli-sauce, fermented seaweed and some prawns (that Chunky had bought on Monday) with six crème de menthe and baileys chaser’s, curdling away, are on the table, waiting for the debutants. 3-2-1 Prost! Glug Glug. – The resultant scene is reminiscent of a geriatric ward after a severe bout of food poisoning. Blood and guts everywhere. Most of the guys missed the bin, apart that is for Saleh who threw up before the first drink had been drunk!
Baldie – YOUR HONOR
Stan and Bobby – Prosecutor
Snookie – Defense
Aiders – Clerk of the Court
The first guilty (already decided) victim is called to answer the crime of “… … … …” (Footnote 3)
Needless to say all the guilty (already decided) victims, I mean defendants, were found guilty, as the charges were delivered with great skill by our esteemed barrister Mathews Senior and although Junior Snookie did his best, the evidence far out-weighed the defence, and the Snookster had to give way to those facts in every case.
In one case a plea of insanity was offered, this was accepted in principle, but denied on the grounds of that you would have to be ‘out of your mind’ to suggest such a plea. In the other cases Snookie agreed that the defendants were indeed, bounders and cads as they certainly are and should be punished to the full letter of the law.
Baldie administered ‘the law’ without prejudice, and with an even hand. That’s all I can say on the matter. All official secrets. (Footnote 3) As you well know, these will be made public knowledge, when in the fullness of time, every one who needs to know, is dead. (See Denver’s memoirs Published 16th May 2086)
The court is at an end, and the crew splits up. Some to town; others for some scram (food). The rest to the Mirramar for a liquid supper.
We arrange our selves around the poolside and settle in for a sesh before the bright lights call us to their evil glow. This is where we are introduced to ‘Helmut’. The Fish, as you know, has been sunning himself daily, and is now just one big Freckle. This fat bloke gets out of the pool, at least 20 stone, a snow-white pallor, a thong stuck up the crack of his arse. He raises his glass and wishes everyone ‘Das is gud ja?’ He gives anyone who is listening a big thumbs up – everyone around the pool, kids, families, and couples returns the thumb.
I look at the Fish. “Watch this now Denv, when he comes back in.”
The bloke enters the pool area, looks around, raises his glass, takes a sip, lowers himself into the pool, lies on his back, rests his stein of lager on his belly and floats around the pool. Occasionally taking a gulp, and puts the beer back on his ample belly. The Fish reckons he has been doing that for five days now. No one has seen him eat anything. He just says “Das is gud ja?” Every body returns the thumb, he drinks his beer, lies on his back like a sperm whale, and floats about, that’s it. That’s his holiday. Never been out side the hotel. Never had a meal, never said anything else to any one. The boys had christened him Helmut! A good German name, and give him the thumbs up when he delivers the immortal phrase “Das is gud ja?”
A bit of harmless trivia but funny on the day. You had to be there.
Bobby, H, Aiders and Vinnie all decide to go for a Chinese. They invite the motley crew. A few of us take up the offer. The establishment is quite a posh place for NAPPA. We have a hearty meal with plenty of wine. Champers rears its head. Bobby and Stan order a few bottles and the night takes a different course we talk film, songs and of course rugby matches of yesteryear.
The subject of the Bruno Lewis fight comes up and where we will watch it. I go to the bar and get chatting to this bloke. He introduces me to his mate Mark – no moustache at all, but he knows a man who has.. We talk about the Bruno fight and he says that he has seen us around. He said that we have been given him and his mate some good laughs. If we have seen you lot anywhere, we come in and watch the fun, and night unfold. I get the round to the boys, return and we chew the fat some more. Jowie comes over says to me if I can introduce him.
“Jowie this is Mike and Mark, Mark and Mike – Jowie.”
Jowie looks at me says “You don’t know who this is do you?”
The blokes look to the floor slightly embarrassed.“ Michael Thomas, and Mark (forgotten) the rave DJ. Eye-ball Paul is the only DJ that I know to this day.
“Sorry boys,” I say, “still haven’t got a clue. They just want to know where we are going to watch the Bruno, Lewis fight.”
Jowie says, “Michael bloody Thomas plays for Liverpool.”
“Oh right. Nice.” I reply. Come still none the wiser, as football and me are strange bedfellows. Any old up we have a good session, a good laugh and arrange to watch the fight in the Rose the next night. Jowie didn’t believe that I didn’t know him but I didn’t and if I bumped into him now, I probably wouldn’t recognize him. I know that he went to Celtic so he must have been a good player – couldn’t scrummage for his life though and his line out throwing was crap! He wasn’t tight either he bought his round – which means although he was a footballer he may still have been a nice fellow. And the DJ stuck his hand in his pocket when it was his turn too. Not the big I am’s at all. Tidy blokes.!
The gang head off to the square. Round-buying stars included. We head to the open-air bars and meet up with acquaintances we have all made. Fragmentation is now beginning take place, as we form different alliances with new friends and groups of like minded, drinkers, lotharios, and misfits. Which I might add, we all needed. A break from the whole does the soul good.
We can’t keep apart. We are all in the Top Rank. How can anyone miss Stan and Mickey Carless raving it’s a site for sore eyes. The night passed off without offending anyone in particular and the Cavs went about their business with the usual ‘Ja de verve’. There was however something afoot…
Butetown entered the room with suitcase packed. Once in the mob – always in the mob. RAF trained and ready for anything! Packed – shaved and ready for inspection! We all woke in different states of paranoia. Patsy’s steed still stabled and looking all the better for it. No rainbows again. I think the beer is getting used to all our bladders or that we can’t drink as much at the end of the trip as we did at the beginning. Dazza`s head however was throbbing harder, due to a three inch gash on his crown. Pillow soaked in claret.
“What ‘appen’d to you?” Bute enquired.
“Dunno.” came the truly honest reply. Vinnie passed around the last of the latest liberated Becks. Bute and myself attended to Fatbloke’s gash. Enployed the magic sponge – bound him up with tape and Vas, and sent him on his way. Not a pretty sight. He looked like Terry Butcher but a lot fatter. We packed our stuff and made our way to the poolside. Marlon and the boys rounded up their ‘HOGS’ and took them back to Mike’s Bikes. No deposits were returned apart from Patsy’s, as the bike, according to Mike, looked somewhat different.
“Can’t put my finger on it but (cleaner).”
“Thank Allah he did not try to start it hey,” Tooz remarked.
All sun beds were full. It’s now time to get a tan. The fish, Uncle Buck and Don were all toasted to a light grey, and proud of it, especially Don, who for the first time had not burnt to a cinder in his twenty three years on God’s earth.
CHUFFED. Almost salmon pink?
Helmut was in the pool, avec le beer, balanced on his ample gut.
A kitty was duly called and all the available remaining change piled into three large glasses. Swill is in charge of the beer. Keo`s all round. It looks like we’re going to end the tour as we began. Four trays of drinks arrived poolside in an instant. Down the hatch and another on the way pronto. Swill was in one of his drinking frenzy this wasn’t going to be pretty. When Mathew wants to swill – we swill!
Underpants are the order of the day and rumours of a fracas permeate. Something about a kebab and the bouncer. We had nicknamed Snuffle-uffaguss. The usual suspects were involved and the out come, well the less said…
Tour rules apply… Ben and the Fish were larking about in the pool trying to emulate Helmut when a pint pot and Ben’s head had a ‘coming-together’. The pot won!
Again rudimentary first aid was administered. Now we had two Boris Karloff’s wandering around.
The PIMMS set had seen enough and left en masse for a mezze. Arris had succumbed and was eating meat of any origin and from any animal. Normal service resumed. Swill by this time had moved onto straight rum and double rum chasers.Prepare for the worst!
A glass was heard to smash poolside. No one looked up as this had happened all the time. Then another, and some more. I looked up to see about thirty moustachioed Greek bruisers. All of them with baseball bats canes sticks and assorted implements at hand. “That’s them!” one of the gorillas, shouted. The skies filled again with glass and we were ambushed, surrounded on all sides. No escape, and panic set in like all good ambushes chaos reigned supreme. Men running hither and thither looking for an escape route. Patsy emulated Arris with a swallow dive over the bar. Feet dancing on broken glass. Saleh made off up to the balcony, trying to seize the higher ground in order to co-ordinate resources.
In the midst of it all, Swill and Helmut remained oblivious to the commotion. Swill by now was not on our planet singing a song o sixpence and shadowboxing.
“Sit tight Jenks. Nowt to do with us kiddo.” Jenko slapped me on my belly.
“Run you idiot. It’s what happened last night. They’ve come for revenge.” he worked out quickly with impressive clarity.
“Am I missing something Jenks? What happened?” I asked.
“Denv – just bloody run! It’s no time for a debate, you toss-pot.”
Myself and Jenks jumped onto someone’s balcony, excused ourselves to a startled looking bloke grimacing on the bidet and made our way to the street. All of this in our underpants by the way – just our underpants. A glass smashed right behind us. We made off up hill towards the square – any square. A car rounded the corner. Jenks and I changed into fourth – heads back – necks straining, when treble F came whizzing past – legs furiously pumping his stiff green gallop. I looked across as Jenks returned my quizzical gaze, still a smile on his face. Shrugged his shoulders.
“Look Jenks – whatever happens from here on in we must stay together.” I announce.
“Too right,” says Jenks, “all for one…”
A junction? I looked left and Jenks looked right our plan worked. I went one way, Jenks the other. Together forever. A car stopped. Two moustaches went after Jenks the others stayed in the Merc. The car shepherded me into a closed shop front and three fellas got out. One smashed me around the legs another jabbed me with the pointy end of a pool cue. This I grabbed with two hands. Silly mistake as I now had no way of defending myself. A swift kick to the shins and I was on my back.
“UP UP asshole!” they suggested in surprisingly good moustachioed english and they bundled me into the back of the car. This is it. Bloody Kidnapped!
I must tell you I shed more than a tear at this point. A little seepage started to show, in the underpants region. A car boot rainbow!
Sat between the Greeks, my mind raced as Terry Waite and Brian Keenan came to mind. I can tell you, the thought of being beaten black and blue, possibly forced to grow a moustache, or worse concentrate’s the mind. I could not work out which bothered me more, the prospect of linear facial hair or having skin like a Rumney Rugby Club jersey. I decided the moustache could be a good feature.
“How the hell am I going to get out of this?” I thought, “Maybe I should have made more of a fight of it? Resisted a little harder? Stalled for time?” The car drove around for about ten minutes and we pulled up to a building on the outskirts of Naapa that could only be described as a goat hut. I was seriously in the do do. The moustaches and a beard got out and beckoned me. They opened up the door and inside – a table, three chairs and an open fire. One ominous, exposed electrical light cable hanging from the ceiling. I suppose that they never blindfolded me, was a blessing in hindsight. However at the time, all I was thinking is dead – you’re going to end up dead, lit up like a 100W light bulb.
We entered the building and sat down while one of the Greeks went out side to make a phone call on his cell phone. I asked for a smoke – possibly my last. Talk of the condemned man! It felt great. My hands were shaking and my left leg trembling in anticipation of what was to come.
The door flung open. The room darkened as the door filled up with a huge monster of a bloke. His moustache, was a cross between the cop from the Village People, and a bass broom? I now know why the boys called him Snuffle-uffaguss. He approached and the sun broke over his shoulder as he entered the room. The theme from deliverance ran through my head.
“Squeal like a pig boy. This is it then. He leant over me looked me in the eyes. By this time my top lip began to quiver and my sphincter… You know, I don’t mind telling you. He turned took his jacket off and his back was covered in stitch’s boot marks and assorted bruises.
“Who? Who?” he said. “Who this they done tell me!”
“Tell you what,” I replied, “take me back to hotel I show you. I point them out. Let’s get police. I tell them. Come on. Let go now. I show you.No problem my friend.” I replied in perfect Greek.
I was saving my skin. I was ready to blab. Split. Point the finger. Grass. Sod this for a game of soldiers. If I get out of this alive, or just with my testicles in tact – I don’t care. Dead heroes and all that Bollocks. Not me. Coward me. Yellow as a nana. Oh yes and that’s the truth. At this stage I would have shopped my sister…sorry sis.
He looked back at me. “It was not you. This I know. You were not the one. You too skinny.”
“Me skinny. Yes me skinny. Need good meal. Yes? I sorry you hurting.” Almost fluent by now.
Phew? It’s my lucky day. If ‘lucky’ is the right word I mean. I had nowt to do with it and here I am in a goat hut in my bundies with four huge Moustaches, hinking I was going to be raped and beaten. So ‘lucky’ might not be the right word for the moment.
Any old up. We got back in the Merc and drove off in the direction of the town, stopping at a formal looking building. Shit – a bloody cop shop. Jeeze they’re going to hand me in to the fuzz. These buggers don’t mess about. Three months before I get to see a lawyer, circuit judge etc. No phone call. Oh dear. Back in the Do Do. Did I say ‘lucky’? Lucky as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest. In we went. Me in me bundies. Wet patch growing by the minute. The big guy and the desk sergeant (huge moustache) exchanged words and a hairy slinging match broke out. Pointing, pandemonium broke out with more coppers coming in and the brute’s mates entering in the argument.
They were ushered out side the door shut and the copper just looked at me.
“Yes? What? You free – you skinny man.” Said the hairy top lip.
“I’m free? I’m free?” Roger Daltry’s Tommy, began ringing musically and rhythmically in my ears. ‘Aaaaiiirrrrmmmm Freeeyeeeehheeeee!’
“Ok.” I replied turned went through the door into the street.
“Where the bloody hell was I though?” I looked around, turned popped my head back in to the cop shop.
“I suppose a lift back would be out of the question?”
“GO! GO! Find some food. Get new pants” He bellowed. So go I did – me and my pants. Strangers were looking at me in that way when you have a piece of snot hanging from your nose but won’t tell you when they know something you don’t.
After one or two or thirty wrong turns, I ended up on a road that I vaguely recognised and made my way back to the hotel bumping into – of all people Jenko.
“What happened to you Denv? You left me!” Jenko explained that he had been bravely hiding under a car and then in someone’s garden behind a bin – shitting himself – for the last couple of hours. He explained that every time he went to make a move, he wasn’t sure that the hairly lip brigands were there or not so he laid low believing that the longer he left it the better his chance of survival. Anyway, he also knew that we were supposed to be leaving today and had to make the move now, rather than miss the bus.
Jenko still had the grin on his face, and I noticed that his pants did not have the obligatory tell-tale wet patch. Lucky sod! We rounded the corner to find the boys boarding the bus. Swill being carried onto the bus by his arms and legs unconscious. Pathos was shepherding the boys onto the coach. Apparently he had saved the day and had let a shot gun off into the air. Bellowing that “No-one meessis with his boys in ees ‘otel.”
Swill was in the aisle. I asked if he was all right. Vinnie explained that he had grabbed a bottle of Ouzo and sat down to watch the fracas. Nobody bothered him as they passed him by. Vinnie and Saleh were covered from head to foot in white powder. They had been cornered and a fire extinguisher had been let off right in their faces. Angry? They were foaming! The door of the bus shut and with a wave of his hand, the moustachioed driver pulled away. Nothing was said by anyone. It was the quietest journey to any airport I have made.
The Pimms set checked us in.
We all exchanged stories of our escapades and a few of the boys kept their heads down for reasons that they themselves know. Not that any grudges are held by anyone to this day – as we are all still here alive – in possession of our pants – and if the truth be told I have dined out on the story for fifteen odd years. I have been known to once or twice add a little post script to this story, adding the odd exagerated untruth about how I fought the moustaches and got overpowered but hey that’s how the story goes. I shit myself… not literally of course, I mean I was scared… But I did piss my pants. That bit is true. Shed a few Tears… also true. But I would not – oh no would definitely not – have missed it for the world!!
We all boarded the plane. The journey home was a little quieter than the trip out. Just a little.
Newport Rd Clubhouse.
Gerald the steward, Nelly O’Brien and of course Corsi were there to greet us. The Rock flowed as the stories were told and we all agreed that next year we would give Argentina a try or South Africa but on no occasion would we ever play a match ever again on tour or hire bikes or do a bunjee jump… But we might… just might one day… grow a moustache!
The story is true but as with all folklore, a certain amount of artistic licence has to be afforded to time and of course copious quantities of alcohol,
Yours in faith Denfa
I have read the serial ‘Cyprus files’ and thought they were excellently presented on the Website.
There were times when I cried with laughter much to Julia’s bemusement! I have been impressed with the ease and skill with which you have recalled and detailed those halcyon days 15 years on in your own unique style.
The fact that some individuals mentioned weren’t actually on that trip and references to incidents that took place on other tours didn’t matter and only added to the enjoyment! You definitely caught the ethos of the tour – so poetic license is certainly awarded with bells on for such an account.
Well done Denv, screenplay in place, roll on the movie “Once Upon a Time in Napa…”
Denver Davies – Rhys Ifans
Dave Walters – Himself
Donald Gallagher – Vinnie Jones
Gerard Powell – Ewan Macgregor
Tim Beddau – Denzel Washington
John Toozer – Will Smith
Steve Saleh – Samuel L Jackson
Simon Harris – Hugh Grant
Vinnie Nolan – Leonardo Di Caprio
Darren Priday – Jack Black
Tony Jenkins – Adam Sandler
Adrian Carpaninni – John Travolta/Johnny Depp
Phil Evans – Neil Jenkins
Chris Churcher – Bruce Willis/Jamie Foreman
Patsy Nolan – Ray Winston
Kevin Hurley – Ray Liotta
Ben Rees – Rutger Hauer
Chris Newton – Russell Crowe
Martin Stevens – Woody Harrelson
Darren Dumett – Freddy Kruger
Mikey Carless – Joe Peschi
Stan Matthews – Andy Garcia
Frankie Fedeli – Sylvester Stallone
Gareth Tucker – Robert De Niro/Brad Pitt