The Boxing Club, Mayakovsky, and Manchester

When coincidences like this occur, you’ve got make a point of them. So here goes…

I was reading Mayakovski’s My Discovery of America, and in the very beginning he narrates his journey to Cuba on an ocean liner. He is a Soviet citizen, travels first class, but makes insightful observations of the three classes of travellers.

So, this is the quote from the book:

On the day before our arrival in Havana the ship came to life. A tombola was held – a nautical charitable event in aid of maritime orphans. […]

The highlight was the boxing. Obviously, this was for the fans of this sport, the English and the Americans. None of them knew how to box. It’s repulsive – belting each other in the mug in the heat. In the first pairing was the ship’s cook – a disrobed, puny, hairy Frenchman with black sock full of holes over his bare legs.

The cook was battered for some while. For about five minutes he held his own through skill and for another twenty minutes through pride, but then gave in, lowered his hands and went off, spitting out blood and teeth.

In the second bout, some fool of a Bulgarian, who arrogantly left his chest wide open, was scrapping with an American detective. This detective, a boxer of professional standard, was seized with fits of laughter. He flailed around but, through hilarity and surprise, was wide of the mark and broke his own hand, which had mended badly after a war-wound.

And just as I was reading this, the doorbell rang. I answered it; a man in glasses wanted to leave some leaflets. He left them in the doorway, so I collected and brought them in the building. But try and imagine my face when I saw what the leaflet read:

So, on top of all sorts of things to be found in Manchester, there is now a Mancunian Boxing Club. Maybe it’ll see Rocky
or The Wrestler ; or maybe it spurs the underground Fight Club. Whatever happens, this was an occasion to remember.

P.S. – As it happens, I remembered everything I knew about Mickey Rourke and his latest film, except the film’s name. So I had to google “Mickey Rourke”, and found out that Rourke has a very official website. Also, The Wrestler can be viewed on Amazon as the video on demand. Unfortunately, it is available for U.S. viewers only.


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