Skip to main content

Mayweather vs Pacquiao? Nope. It's Nigel Benn vs me, a long time ago!

Nigel Benn and me in the ring at the 5th Street Gym, Miami Beach.

Mayweather vs Pacquiao? Nope. It's Nigel Benn vs me, a long time ago!

This was actually why/how I moved to America from Britain. After my book The War Zone was published, GQ ran a profile on me and said I could write anything I wanted, so I chose to profile Nigel Benn, whom I knew was training in Miami, because I was writing a novel about violence and tenderness. GQ sent me there for a month and threw in a trip to Havana for me to write about that, too. 

I loved South Beach so much, I rented an Art Deco apartment (for $500 a month!) the second week I was there. I was ready to change my life - I had just lost my first son to cancer - and Miami Beach in the 1990s was like a dream! I never looked back. So huge thanks to Nigel Benn, whom I liked a lot. 

For our fun training bout in the ring, he threw one punch at my forehead and had such control that it literally just grazed me. I was out of the ring in a shot!
This was all at the wonderfully steamy and seedy, historic 5th Street Gym, where Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson had trained. Sadly, it is long gone. Much of the Art Deco Miami Beach I loved is now towering, multi-million-dollar designer condos. 

You can read more of my adventures in Miami in my book, Life On Mars. A Kindle edition is coming eventually!

My pal Nigel Benn!


Popular posts from this blog

The High Tower Apartments and The Long Goodbye

Photograph by Dwayne Moser. This beautiful apartment complex in Los Angeles is called the Hightower or High Tower Complex (the High Tower name refers to the central elevator, I believe), and was designed in 1935-1936 by architect  Carl Kay - and made famous in 1973 by my favorite film, Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (see Why I Love Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye ). Although Altman used the building as Philip Marlowe's apartment in his somewhat post-modern Long Goodbye (the film plays with references to Old Hollywood and opens and closes with the song, Hooray For Hollywood ), the building has another direct connection to Raymond Chandler. It was apparently the inspiration for Chandler in his book, The High Window (the first Chandler novel I ever read), in which Chandler describes the residence of Philip Marlowe as being on the cliffs above High Tower Drive in a building with a fancy elevator tower. (Thanks to the Society of Architectural Historians Southern

Andrew Hale and Sade

Sade in concert in San Jose. All concert photos  Copyright  © 2011  Alexander Chow-Stuart. On Thursday evening, we saw our longtime friend Andrew Hale perform with Sade at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, in one of the most beautifully conceived and produced concert performances I have ever seen. Sade is a rare musician, in that she and the band only write, record and tour every eight to ten years, so that in a very real sense you can measure your life by her. The band's music is always fresh and always newly conceived - for their previous album, Lovers Rock , they stripped everything down musically to a minimalist sound and banished the saxophone that had been so much a part of Sade's heavily soul- and jazz-influenced style. The latest album, Soldier of Love , released in 2010, is one of the most tender, moving collections of songs yet, from the astonishingly beautiful Morning Bird , which features exquisite keyboards from Andrew, to the soulful, retro, return-

The War Zone Message Board - Something Remarkable

Lara Belmont and Ray Winstone in The War Zone. Thirteen years ago, when the film of my novel The War Zone was released, something remarkable occurred: a film and a book about incest gave birth to an online message board, The War Zone Message Board , intended for survivors of incest and abuse, and all who wished to discuss relevant topics in an empathetic manner. It is not a fan site for either the book or the film. It is moderated by volunteers - currently two young women called Nath and Norie - who give freely of their time to insure that those who wish to give voice to their feelings, or to find solace or help or support from others, may do so. Some of the people involved call themselves "zoners," which for me is something quite remarkable and humbling: that a novel I first started thinking about almost 30 years ago, and a film that Tim Roth directed so stunningly 13 years ago, should spawn its own support system for those caught up in the horrifying world we r