Steve Costigan has quite a lot in common with the character in the song, I thought. They both travel to exotic cities, but they are usually so wrapped up in their sport--chess for the guy in the song, boxing for Costigan--to even notice the sites or other opportunities the places might offer.
And then there's the refrain, "One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble." At least one hard man is invariably humbled in the Costigan stories....
Having so reflected on the song, I decided to chase it down and see if it matched my memory. It did, sort of. Here are the top three versions and/or videos I came across.
First, here is the one that is best know. It's the official version of the song that was used to promote the musical and tie-in record from which it was drawn, "Chess". It features Murray Head, who was also the lead in the stage production. and it topped the charts all throughout Europe for months.
I also found that lots of the tone and imagery in the video is actually in line with that found in the Costigan stories, but that is because they both draw from the same well.
Another version of the song, which became a hit even before the "official" song had hit the airwaves was this one. It's an interesting arrangement, as its delivery and style of the video puts you in mind of a reporter while the song is being performed rather than a player like during the Head version.
And then there's this one. I'm including it mostly so you can test your stamina. But also because it's performed by disgraced boxing champ Mike Tyson. (By the way, Tyson is the sort of guy that Costigan would have gone out of his way to beat the crap out of. Not only did Tyson have a reputation, but he was an abuser of women and so would deserve to be laid out on the canvass.)
Please check out "Fists of Foolishness: The Tales of Sea-faring Boxing Champ Steve Costigan". I think it features some great writing and some funny stories, whether you like boxing or not. (I happen to think boxing is boring and a waste of time, blood, and brain cells on the part of the athletes taking part, but I still love these stories.)
This book is the first in a projected two-volume series, with the follow-up, "Shanghaied Mitts: More Tales of Sea-faring Boxing Champ Steve Costigan" presenting an additional ten stories.