Things I saw that left my jaw swinging: Part 2
Besides Times man James Bone, the most theatrical character on offer during the Black trial was Tom Bower. He is a naturally gregarious—though somewhat laconic, even aristocratic—presence. Looking back, it seemed as though he was perpetually holding court, surrounded by journos made curious by both his trashy money-spinning biography of the Blacks and the concomitant possibility that should Black walk free, Bower himself would be subject to the mother of all lawsuits.
One afternoon during the interminable wait for the verdict, I found myself lounging in one of the alcoves down from Room 1241. Bower, draped over a chair in English drawing-room fashion, started up about Black’s prospects should he be convicted. I asked whether Black’s title was in the balance. “Conviction for a crime is practically a badge of honour,” he replied. What about club memberships? “Oddly, we both belong to the same club. I don’t suppose the membership would throw him out for simple criminality. If anyone was made uncomfortable by his behaviour, I suppose they might ask him if he would stop paying his bills. They could then throw him out for non-payment.” In the face of Black’s fury, Bower was the essence of British sang-froid. I doubt he would have lost a minute’s sleep either way.