Sunday, 17 May 2015

Choose ... wisely

[Just dropped in a little Indian Jones and the Last Crusade reference, did you see?]

Readers, I put up a recent post about ideas for the next Q&A for Deighton Dossier readers which Len Deighton has kindly agreed to do.

I've had some questions through. I'm not going to propose a single theme, but am keen instead to post up interesting - and new questions (check the other interviews here to see what we've already asked as a readership).

Couple of possible themes emerging are FILMS and THE WRITING PROCESS.

However, post up questions on any relevant theme that you'd like to add to the Q&A and, within reason, I'll aim to include them on the Q&A, share it with Len and then, at some point, post it on this blog and the main Deighton Dossier website.


  1. Choose...wisely. By the old monk guarding the holy grail. I saw this in Brussels when it first came out. It had French subtitles. When the bad guy drinks from the most beautiful chalice then crumble to dust, the monk says "Il choisi mediocre" - "He chose poorly" was the dialog. I had not realized that "mediocre" was so bad and I never used in a performance appraisal again.



  2. I have jotted down 10 questions-not related to any theme-which I find as restrictive, as to be so immensely successful, Len should have had many interests, opinions etc., and I am sure he is multi-dimensional. Please fee free to pick any of them or all of them or just disregard them!


    1. I would like to hear Len’s opinion of other thriller writers . For example, Robert Ludlum was so hugely successful . How does he rate him? Who in his opinion are the best in this genre?
    [It was reported that Robert Ludlum wrote all his 27 thrillers by long hand on yellow writing pads using pencil. Not surprising to me though as I wrote all my postgraduate exams then in America using the yellow writing pad and pencil!]
    2. Did he read and appreciate any classical literature or author ?
    3. What was/were his leisurely interests then and now?
    4. Was he interested in sports? Was he a supporter of a football club? Did he like to watch cricket match or listen to cricket commentaries? If yes, for both these sports, who were his favourite players?
    5. As some one who has such knowledge of the events related to WWII, does he think that the European countries which were involved in WWII, should continue to have official remembrance events related to WWII? For example, the last D-day related official events were held last year as the veterans numbers are dwindling fast.
    6. Does he like Jazz or any other kind of music? My understanding is he lived in America for a while during those days when New Orleans attracted many many Jazz lovers ( I mean, the pre-Katrina days, which were quintessentially glorious) .
    7. When he lived in America, what attracted him most?
    8. Had he been to: Down Under? South East Asia- for example Singapore? Japan?
    9. What does he think of the Watergate scandal? There is a personal interest here, as I lived in America during that period when Nixon was the president, and it was really a soul-searching period for Americans, when the Vietnam War was going bad for them.
    10. If Len was not so successful as an author or cookery writer, what other occupation would he have chosen? As a mechanic for example?

  3. It is interesting to notice that parallel time line between the rise of The Beatles as the rock band and Len’s rise as the thriller writer.
    When Len’s first novel: “The Ipcress File “ was published in 1962, the Beatles were getting more noticed in Liverpool , and George Martin got involved as their song recoding took place in EMI’s Abbey Studios, in St John’s Wood, that year. When Len’s novel:” Funeral in Berlin “ came out in 1964, the Beatlemania took over in Britain and around the world, and by the time Len’s: “Billion-Dollar Brain” was published in 1966 and Len’s reputation was at its highest, the Beatles as the rock band were the very top band in the world, having conquered America with their music.
    The question: Having lived in that thrilling period in 1960s, what are Len’s memories about the Beatles?