There is a chapter in Behind Gym Doors where I detail one of the strangest things that has ever happened to me alongside a high-profile Russian client and his group of friends. It involved a lot of cigars, a well-trained bicep, a very intimidating sofa, and a beautiful Russian doll who loved strawberries. For the record – I hate Russian dolls…they’re so full of themselves. Aaaaanyway, was the situation weird. Yes. Was it dangerous? Definitely.
It was back around the time of 2010-2014 that I happened to fall into a very select group of people who resided in London at the time. I would like to say it was unbeknown to me who they were, but from the offset it was pretty fucking obvious that they didn’t take Labradors for a walk, rear fluffy lambs in the spring, or make daisy chains in the summer.
These were not the sort of people who would walk your 80-year-old grandmother across the road, let’s just say that.
For the life of me I don’t know why, but I was taken under the wing of one of the Soviet block’s finest, who had fled his motherland for London. I’d go onto train him for a number of years, but it wasn’t long before he started telling me about his background, where his money was and who was involved. Trust has always been at the forefront of what I do so I can only assume that he knew his words would never leave the four walls we were training in.
I also knew that I’d probably be 6 feet under if anything did slip out, so I’m sure he felt safe.
What amazed me about these conversations were how blasé they were, and how matter of fact he was with how he referred to ‘their’ views on business and politics. Now I want to paint a picture for all of you who are goody two shoes, innocent, butter wouldn’t melt types of characters. ‘Crime’ has many arms. Organised crime is exactly that…organised. You have the ‘bosses’ and then that filters down through to the streets (the foot soldiers). Now that is a very basic playbook of how organised crime works but this lot were different. This lot weren’t gun toting, grave digging, have your nuts chopped off and put in your mouth kind of people (well, they might have been). But they weren’t all prison tattoos, Soprano’s types is really what I’m trying to say.
They were classy, intelligent, business minded with a focus on getting what they wanted.
Manipulating markets, pressurising governments, obtaining vast wealth at a rate which I could never get my head around. They saw themselves as bigger and better than people imagine the ‘mafia’ to be.
I trained many of these characters over a number of years and they were all the same. Opulent, loud, ruthless, they knew what they wanted, and they weren’t afraid to get it. From bigger biceps, to crash diets, to wrapping themselves in cling film (yes…that shit really did happen), they were a league unto their own. But I have to honestly say that the majority were a pleasure to deal with, and if it wasn’t for the afore mentioned Soviet sickle then I probably wouldn’t have been able to get the break I did at that time.
I rarely ever see any of my old Russian clients, as most of them left the country when the UK government laid the smackdown on them. From time to time I see one of their businesses in the news, or one of their boats being sanctioned. It never surprised me that they saw their own demise in the UK…there were red flags all over the place. Waheeey.
If you want to read more about some of the characters I mentioned, then go and pick up a copy of Behind Gym Doors where you’ll understand where the cling film idea came from, and why big biceps, an intimidating sofa and a bowl of strawberries is relevant. You’ll realise why Russian Roulette is such a mind-blowing game, and why 5 out of 6 scientists say Russian Roulette is safe.
I’ll stop the dad jokes.
Head on over to the books section and Putin a copy into your basket. 😉
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