The Greatest Pub Fight I Ever Saw: "The Human Torpedo"

Never mind the fact that he was completely ineffective, the human torpedo has become a man of pub legend.
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Never mind the fact that he was completely ineffective, the human torpedo has become a man of pub legend.

The Cat & Mutton, Hackney, 2013.

A loud argument had taken place between a table of mates and one noticeably pissed young chap. "Did you spill my jam jar of responsibly sourced organic wine?" maybe. A scuffle broke out and the offending instigator - drunk, incensed and shouting indiscriminate noises at the top of his lungs at nobody in particular, had been bundled out the door by the bouncers. Surprising to see it in an establishment full of thoroughly 'nice' types playing board games, but so far, nothing remarkable.

From behind the mountainous bouncers, the men and women on the table got up and stood at the window laughing, giving it the old 'ta ta' wavy hand motion and mocking pissed kid like he'd just been given a straight red and sent for an early bath. I'd describe them as your typical group of thirtysomething gastropub 'guys' - bellies, beards and Birkenstocks. Twats basically, but harmless.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, our man spotted the side door unguarded.

In a flash of fiery resilience he saw his opening, bolted towards the door, flung it open and found himself back in the pub, facing the group of mates who let out a collective gasp. Everybody else in the pub had stopped chatting amongst themselves to watch the commotion and now eyes of the entire room were on him. This cinematic standoff seemed to last as long as a minute but in reality it was more like a split second, a moment in time where our man had to make a decision: I'm back in the pub - I can get at this lot - now what the fuck do I do?

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He did what any bloke who doesn't get into many fights but has drunk half a bottle of tequila would - he charged straight ahead like a raging bull and flung himself - head first, arms by his side, completely expressionless - into the middle of the dozen strong crowd.

It was like someone had fired him horizontally out of a cannon. For a brief moment he seemed to glide through the air like a flying fish as the world slowed down around him. But what goes up must come down. Girls screamed, a table went over, people clambered out of the way and our man came crashing in to landing on the hard, sticky pub floor. Kill count: 0

As the laughing bouncers lifted him out the door for the second time like a sack of spuds, you could see the pub momentarily stop to take in what we'd all just seen. Did that really just happen in this pleasant gentrified pub-cum-restaurant in Hackney? A young man throwing caution to the wind and going full kamikaze into a table of G&Ts? The aftermath was a fog of disbelief and respect. It didn't matter that the injuries he'd caused to himself far outweighed those inflicted to anyone else- our man was now the human torpedo - a man of pub legend, and his story will live on.

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