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SUNDAY 14 APRIL 2024

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Mad George the publican had Big Julie the stripper in his (pool table) pocket

PUB FUN: From left, John Burke Davies, Gordon Hughes, Keiron Donnelly, Jeff McGowan, Henry Matthews and Mad George.


By GEORGE DEARSLEY

The cause of many a Manchester journalist’s hangover from the 1970s to the 2010s was George Archondogeorge (aka Mad George).


The 83-year-old Greek Cypriot landlord of at least three pubs and one club in his career also helped slake the thirst of stars like George Best.


Ex-News of the World reporter Alan Hart writes: “When George was the landlord of the Douglas pub opposite Thomson House, one of his patrons was a stripper called Big Julie.


“She liked to play pool. If an opponent was on the verge of victory, about to pot the black ball, she would lift up her sweater and place one of her huge, unbridled tits into the pocket. This made the shot impossible and many a pool player would appeal to Mad George to intervene. But as far too many customers were enjoying the spectacle and George would tell the complainants to get on with it.


“One cold winter's night, a customer was huddled in front of a sparse fire. He complained to George about the pub being cold. George asked him to stand up and when he did, George broke the chair the drinker had been sitting on over his knee and threw the pieces on the fire, telling the astonished customer ‘it will be warmer now’.


According to Hart, George had friends in the Greater Manchester Police Force who issued him with an undated extension certificate, allowing him to serve alcohol beyond normal hours. George carried the document at all times. Despite this, one night around 1980, the police raided the Sir Ralph Abercromby, ordering all the customers to stand still in front of their drinks while officers quizzed them. George Harrop, the larger-than-life picture editor of the Daily Mirror, was asked when he had last bought a drink. Harrop, looking sheepish, replied: "About 1970, but please don't tell anyone."


Former Mirror news reporter Phil Braund recalls George throwing out Mailman Richard Clark who had strayed into the exclusive Mirror Christmas party.


Braund, who gave Clark a jab after the Mailman had tried to knee him in the groin, said: “Clark was a hefty lad but George picked him up by the scruff of the neck and threw him into the street, narrowly missing a passing taxi.”



CHEERS!  Montage of George and guests hanging in one of his pubs.

ANDY CHAPMAN, Ex Sunday Express, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday Northern Correspondent writes….


Mad George made his own inimitable entrance when he gatecrashed The Star’s launch party in the Crown and Kettle in 1978. He walked into the pub wearing a traffic cone on his head and the place erupted in laughter.


The old Douglas pub was demolished in 1986 and later became the site of one of Manchester’s most iconic new buildings, Urbis, an exhibition centre of popular culture.


In more recent years I and a couple of colleagues were up from London and I showed them the delights of the old Manchester drinking haunts. It was late, and our last port of call was The Circus Tavern. Alas, the towels were up. But then a booming voice called out: “We’re closed, baby,” in a Manchester twang tinged with Greek.


It was George. I thought he would have been long gone after a lifetime of self abuse, and I exclaimed “Georgio! From The Douglas!” He replied :”You know me from The Douglas? What you want to drink!”


On the walls of the back snug were pictures of legendary Mirror hacks — Leo White, News Editor, Mike (Hard Boiled) Gagie, and others too numerous to mention. Also a photo of Georgie Best with a pyramid of champagne glasses filled from the top glass, and old boxing pictures of George when he was a ‘contender’. We drank on into the night reminiscing…


PS: The Douglas on Fennell Street, Manchester goes back a long way. Roger Waterhouse's The Other Fleet Street shows it being demolished in 1986, with a portly and pork-pie-hatted George Harrop, former Daily Mirror northern night picture editor, saluting it. The Douglas is described as "the sort of pub where you wiped your feet on the way out. Hacks called its two bars Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

MAD GEORGE: Wore a traffic cone on his head



16 March 2024