When given the opportunity to visit Boston you don’t turn it down, then you find out it’s to shoot a short documentary about an ex-Mafia mobster… But what the heck, free trip to Boston! (A work related piece of content, so not free, but business).
We flew via Toronto, where I had sweet potato tots for the first time, and dammit they were good. I didn’t get to see anything of Canada but I’ll always remember my short stay thanks to them little fried treats.
Onto Boston and it was pissing it down, we arrived at the hotel at 11:30pm, so we had a couple of beers and headed to bed. We were up early for a tour of all the gangster areas and to see some of the places that featured in the film Black Mass.
I woke up absolutely shattered, I’d travelled about 20 hours all in all and the 5 hours sleep didn’t really cut it… However, a breakfast of the fattest chocolate chip pancakes I’d ever seen gave me more energy than I could cope with. We met a nice young lady that showed us some of the sights, because there’s nothing like washing down massive chocolaty pancakes like visiting houses where people were murdered, “you remember the girl that was strangled to death in the film” she said, I’d watched Black Mass on the plane so it was as fresh as the morning air, “that’s the house right there.” Excellent, I thought…
We tried to do some filming, but the weather was horrendous and my lens was getting wet, and if there is one thing I do not like it’s my lens getting wet! So we packed up and went to dry off at the hotel. That’s where we were meeting Mark Silverman anyway.
Mark is an ex-mobster, now author, somewhat charming man. He sounds just like the ‘wise guy’ I’d seen in so many films. Without him even speaking his face said a thousand words, you can tell this guy had seen some nasty things. We sit him down for the interview and boy can the fella talk, he told stories for 50 minutes straight about life as a mobster. The most compelling one being the time he crossed paths with Whitey Bulger, who Johnny Depp plays in the film. You can watch the story in the documentary below.
That evening we decided to visited the bar from Cheers, what I thought was going to be a cool place to have a beer turned out to be a massive tourist attraction, they literally had Cheers on everything to buy, t-shirts, mugs, key rings etc… Bloody shame it was. Next we checked out the L Street Tavern, famous from Good Will Hunting, which was another disappointment, it was dead. If I learnt anything from that evening it was; if a bar looks good on TV it doesn’t mean it’s good in real life. (All this can be watched in my travel vlog, also below).
The next day we met up with Mark again, he showed us the streets he grew up and where some of the mob wars had taken place. He threw sentences around like “there’d be dead guys in those dumpster all the time” and “don’t trust a place with new tarmac, because there’s probably a dead guy under it.”
The streets of Boston are now a pale resemblance to those days with most people happy to chat with us. Although everyone had their own story about the days of Whitey Bulger. It’s such recent history, there’s rumours that the gangster life of Boston is still there, it’s just not as spoken about nowadays. A running theme was; what do you do after you’ve lived that lifestyle? In Mark’s case he’s trying to stay out of it and write books about his former life and the people he met along the way.