I spent an incredible couple of months shadowing Gerry Adams, reputed IRA mastermind and leader of Sinn Fein, the Republican political party in Northern Ireland, as he toured Ireland and Britain. Halfway through my assignment it was announced that Prime Minister Tony Blair would meet him in Downing Street – the first time a Sinn Fein leader had been there since MIchael Collins in 1922. GQ allowed me to keep going with this article and follow him right to the front door. I was lucky to get closer to Adams than most journalists. I think it was worthwhile – even if I was nearly arrested for being a suspected terrorist myself. This is how it all happened.
Frank Serpico was played in the famous movie of the same name by Al Pacino. As the final credits roll we learn that the ex-cop who’d so bravely fought corruption in New York, was now living in a secret European location. I always wanted to track him down however. In 1998 I did just that and found him in a remote cabin in upstate New York. I immediately travelled throusands of miles to write about him. I’ll let you make your own minds up about whether or not I should have heeded the old saying that begins: ‘Never meet your heroes…’
This is the story of a Scottish boxer who died in the ring during a championship fight. Oddly, I’d penned a ficitonal short story using the same title a year before I did this non-fiction article. I remain grateful to the boxer’s family for the way they opened up and trusted me during its writing. The dead man’s mother paid me the compliment of saying afterwards: ‘You never put a foot wrong in it…’ I still get upset reading it myself years later.