|The lost Deighton book cover
In the swinging sixties, it was Town magazine that was the magazine that recognised men were becoming increasingly interested in fashion, food, culture, cars and all the other offshoots of a consumer culture.
Recently, I found on eBay a very rare copy of Town magazine from 1965, the cover of which references the filming at the time of The Ipcress File. It contains a superb article about Len Deighton in which, among other things, we learn that he thought the James Bond stories were a little "childish"!
The magazine - published by Michael Heseltine, before he became an MP - lasted only a few years, but in that time it was a unique part of London's scene. T
|Town's 2012 incarnation
Since the publication of
"Len Deighton has an account at Dorfmann's of Park Lane - the only bank in London which is open at midnight. But he isn't sure how he wants to spend his money. He has a radio telephone in his car - but the only way to contact him is through his agent. He adopts Middle European disguise in public - leather hats and ankle-length overcoats. But at home he wears disintegrating chain-store sweaters and trousers with flannel fatigue. He spends a year of time and energy collecting facts for each book - and then turns them into fiction. He thinks fiction is a pleasant waste of time, and can't understand why people buy his books. In Deighton's world nothing is quite what it seems to be - but bafflement and the double-bluff of double-agents and the ace constituents of his spy thrillers."
"There was no specific opposition to making Horse into a movie. On the contrary, films with underwater sequences usually do well at the box office. But the order in which the books were published in the US was different to their publication in Britain. Each book was complete as a story (a rule I have always kept to). If the books could stand alone, so could films.
Harry Saltzman was attracted to the Funeral in Berlin story because Berlin was in the newspaper headlines. So in America the publication of Horse (which didn’t have Berlin spy story content) came later. There is now talk of a movie and I think it could be very effective on the screen."
"Deighton is understandably loth to talk about James Bond. But he did say, quietly, that he thought the books a little childish. Spy stories are one of the few strictly contemporary 'adventure' vehicles, war being of the past, preferably, and science fiction of the future. Like Westerns and most stories in which the goodies always win, they are susceptible to formulaic treatment. Ian Fleming's books are altogether contemporary in trappings, but there is something approaching ritual in Bond's conflicts with titanic evil. He is a giant-sized representative of good capitalism, a godlike consumer of expensive, esoteric and flamboyant consumer goods, moving confidently through a world in which everything, including the women, is much larger than life. Deighton's here has no name because Leonard would be a silly name for a spy and he is an ordinary, mortal struggler. He has taken the spy genre down a naturalistic branch line and the appearance of reality is everything."