The East End of London has long been associated with violence. It was on these streets that the infamous Jack the Ripper stalked his prey and where the notorious Kray brothers kept peace on the street by dispensing their own unique brand of justice.
The new wave of violence has its roots firmly established in the past. In Elizabethan England the blood sport of bear baiting was popular, and The Globe Theatre made famous by Shakespeare was a venue well known for staging this barbaric entertainment. Indeed many Shakespeare scholars believe Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction “exeunt pursued by a Bear” is an indirect reference by Shakespeare to the practice of bear baiting. In recent years respected historian and novelist Dan Brown also discovered that the play this is taken from, “A Winter’s Tale”, is in fact an anagram of “Animal Death Hell”.
Whilst the practicalities of trying to smuggle a bear unnoticed around the streets of London has put an end to bear baiting, equally vicious blood sports have succeeded it. The following news report allows us a glimpse into the shady, underworld of Weasel Fighting:
There can be little room for doubt that evil in weasel fighting, but the influx of Eastern European gangs to London has seen blood sports become ever more exotic. Former Russian mafia hitman Bogdan Andreev confessed all he knew about the depraved world of blood sports.
I started out training against otters, but it seemed like I was a natural so I quickly moved on to stouts then ferrets. I remember my first fight, it was in the cellar of a pub in London’s East End. The punters formed a circle around me, then one of them threw a hessian sack writhing with weasles at me. As it was my first fight there was only 25 or so which I neutralized in just under 40 seconds. Naturally the crowd was amazed they had never seen an amateur handle himself like that before, I felt like that Russsell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind” . I became a celebrity overnight in the East End underworld. Inevitably drink, drugs and women were to distract my focus from my training, and in elite weasel fighting that can turn the tables in the favour of the weasel. We have a saying in weasel fighting that somewhere out there there’s a bag of weasels with your name on it.
Having trained lightly for his next bout Andreev could never have expected what the organizers were staging. Andreev’s dominance was making it difficult for the bookmakers to turn a profit, thus forcing them to sabotage the contest. Andreev explained:
I remember looking at the sack, somehow it was different it, was writhing in a completely more frenzied fashion, and when they released the weasels, well it was just carnage.
Little did Andreev know that prior to the fight the weasels had been forced to ingest phencyclidine, PCP or colloquially known as Angel Dust.
They just kept coming at me with an unnatural strength, a strength you’d more associate with say a swan or a llama, not that I’ve ever wrestled a llama but with a strength I would expect from a llama.
Andreev would never fully recover from this incident, sustaining the loss of two fingers, a testicle and his sense of humour. But Andreev goes on to give even more alarming testimony concerning a man known as Yuri from Kazakhstan.
It all started one morning after breakfast, we’d all hit the vodka pretty hard when Yuri suggested he wanted to fight a monkey. What really interested him was the idea of spanking a monkey. He believed it would reinvigorate the East Ends interest in blood sports. We all tried to explain to Yuri that “spanking the monkey” was a euphemism for having a wank, but Yuri was both a focused and determined man. We heard no more about it until I got word in an East End market that a Russian intended to spank the monkey in a pub cellar. Well I knew immediately that somehow Yuri had procured his monkey.
Well it was at this stage, having had my situation and watch Yuri spank a monkey in a dark, damp pub cellar, that I knew things were getting out of hand. For a couple of weeks Yuri was the talk of the town, but like any addict he needed to push things further to get his kicks. Spanking his monkey in public no longer did it for him, one day he upped the ante and declared his intention to “bash the bishop”. Those of us who were there looked at one another nervously. Moving on to people had never been considered, let alone a man of God. From the demented, deranged and depraved look in Yuri’s eyes I could tell he was serious. Again things went quiet for a couple of weeks, then the tabloid newspaper ‘The Sun’ reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury himself had been abused.
It was following this that Andreev fled London to start a new life in Thailand, as he reinvented himself as a kindergarten teacher. If it wasn’t for his braveness to speak out about the unfathomable cruelty of organized blood sports, neither bishops nor monkeys could enjoy the safety they do today.