This is a passage from my book.
Chas, with all the sensitivity of a northern working-class boy who had grown up in the fifties, wasn’t always (as) patient. One night in London he snapped. There were two Glaswegian guys giving Jimi a hard time in a pub down a small side street off Tottenham Court Road, where we had stopped for a drink on the way to the Hundred Club in Oxford Street. I think we were going to see Brian Auger or John Mayall.
‘Are yer a man or a girl?’ they taunted, one of them prodding (Jimi) with his finger and tugging at his hair. We tried to ignore them in the hope that they would get bored and give up but it didn’t work. The last thing Jimi needed at that stage was to get into a pub brawl which might end up in the press.
‘Come on,’ Chas said, draining his glass, ‘let’s drink up and go.’
We followed his example and went out into the street, but the two drunks followed us. As we walked away one of them came after us along the road, still shouting taunts, while his friend hung back a bit. I guess they thought they were in for a diverting evening of queer-bashing.
‘Yer fuckin’ chicken,’ he yelled, ‘why doncha stick up for yerself? Are yer a fuckin’ pansy then?’
‘Just walk on ahead,’ Chas muttered to me. He turned sharply and went back to the man, pushing his face close. ‘Fuck off man, before I lay yer out.’
We couldn’t resist turning back to see what was happening. The man poked Chas with his finger, an unwise thing for a drunk to do to a six-foot-three Newcastle ex-docker. Chas took a step back and then swung his leg up, kicking the man hard, bringing him down on to the pavement in one movement. He continued to kick him with startling speed and ferocity as the other drunk hurried back to the pub. Chas kept kicking until the man wouldn’t be getting up for a while.
‘Goddamit,’ Jimi breathed as we hurried away towards Oxford Street, ‘remind me not to mess with Chas.’
All evening Jimi was unable to get over what he’d seen, stunned by the sight of his giant protector at work.
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