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Issue 26 - The heat of the night

Whisky Magazine Issue 26
October 2002


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The heat of the night

Michal Jackson fights the cold with Rod Steiger

The last time I drank liquor out of a bottle was with Rod Steiger. The drinks cabinet in our stretch limo contained a fifth of Wild Turkey. I would have made a tasting note, but I was distracted by our chauffeur.

“That'll kill you,” he warned, taking his eyes off the road to harangue us. A London bus swerved. “Whiskey never hurt anyone,” said Steiger. “Drinking out of the bottle you'll all get each other's germs,” the chauffeur persisted. “You saying we have dirty mouths?” demanded Steiger.

He survived the London limo ride and the germs. When his final credits rolled a couple of months ago, I recalled Steiger as a good man with whom to have a whiskey. Back then, he was hanging out with Norman Mailer, who had decided to try film-making. The three of us were going to the London premiere of his first movie.

The film made me more grateful than ever for Mailer's novels, but had the merit of several boxing scenes. I cannot resist the square ring. Neither could Mailer. Boxing should be banned, but I shall watch it until some busybody has the sense to decide what's good for me. My mother objected to the fact that the under card took so long. At Madison Square Gardens, the title bout would not start until at least 10pm Eastern. That would be around 3am in Britain. My father would get me out of bed, sling a blanket round my eight-year-old shoulders, and sit on a sofa with me while our old-fashioned, second-hand valve radio gamely tried to keep its grip on the commen...

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