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Full Circle

Day 18: Magadan

Michael Palin - Full CircleHalfway through dinner, Fawlty-esque sounds emanate from the kitchen. Breaking of crockery, raised voices. Then a waitress backs out of the serving-door followed by a big, lurching heavyweight in light-blue denim jacket and trousers. He makes a grab for her and a vodka bottle. He misses both and sends a stack of other bottles crashing to the floor. Leaving the waitress to clear the mess, he turns his aggression towards the band, a sad little combo who play carefully and tentatively as though at any moment they might suffer an electric shock from their equipment. The thug leans against the stage, staring up at them, menacingly. There is a flurry of bum notes. Then, with sudden and surprising agility, he leaps onto the stage, head butts one of the amplifiers and, flinging aside the drum kit, he pursues the band backstage. Assorted cries and thuds are heard, culminating in a distant crash of breaking glass. No one from the staff has lifted a finger to restrain him.

Next morning I come down to see a part of the reception boarded up and fresh glass being put in the front door.

It transpires that the man who did the damage was well-known. They say he often comes here, collecting protection money for the local Mafia.
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  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 18
  • Country/sea: Eastern Russia
  • Place: Magadan
  • Book page no: 40

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